Maxime Lehman

Maxime Lehman

NeuroPSI – Paris-Saclay University

Neural circuit mechanisms of sensorimotor transformations

Summary of my work
To ensure their survival, animals need to respond to threats with appropriate actions. However, the precise neural circuit mechanisms that underlie such flexible defensive behaviours remain poorly understood. the aim of this thesis was to identify the neurons and neuronal pathways involved in defensive behaviours of the Drosophila larva.
Using Electron Microscopy connectomics, Calcium imaging, genetics-based neuronal manipulations, high-throughput behavioral assays and machine-learning-based classification, we have identified competitive interactions between a Startle-promoting mechanosensory pathway and an Escape-promoting nociceptive pathway,
underlying a mutual cross-modal modulation dependent on the relative levels of activation of the two pathways.
The results of this work revealed a putative sensorimotor circuitry underlying this cross-modal competition, with second- and third-order neurons differentially involved in this competition. We have mapped the main pathways linking these neurons to the sensory and motor sides, and identified potential sites of interaction at the premotor stage. This work thus extends previous knowledge of the sensorimotor pathways underlying responses to mechanosensory input and nociception, and reveals potential sites of interaction between them.

Members of the jury

    • Julien BOUVIER, Président & Examinateur
    • Elim HONG, Rapporteur & Examinatrice
    • Peter SOBA, Rapporteur & Examinateur
    • Séverine TRANNOY, Examinatrice


  • Tihana Jovanic (Institut NeuroPSI, Saclay)

PhD Defence

Neural circuit mechanisms of sensorimotor transformations

Directed by Tihana Jovanic

The event is finished.


Jun 08 2023



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