Daniel E. Shulz Team

Sensori-motor Integration and Plasticity

In brief

Tactile information is acquired and processed in the brain through concerted interactions between movement and sensation. We study neuronal processes responsible for the coding of sensorimotor information by using a comprehensive approach including electrophysiological, imaging, optogenetic and behavioral strategies in rodents. Our general strategy is to probe the brain with controlled natural tactile inputs in vivo, in order to gain understanding of the functional architecture of the system and the plasticity rules that underlie perceptual learning and motor control.

Our research

Our laboratory is the only one in the world to have developed a 24 whisker stimulator (the Matrix) which allows multidirectional whisker deflections at behaviorally relevant speed and acceleration. The Matrix allowed us to explore new paradigms that are changing the way we consider the functional organization of the somatosensory system, from a labeled line to a more distributed and flexible cortical coding. Within the framework of closed-loop neuroscience, we explore general rules of sensorimotor adaptation by developing brain-machine interfaces used as a probe for studying the neuronal code and its adaptation by reinforced learning. Our approach is original and out of the main stream since instead of applying adaptive decoding algorithms, we fix the algorithms and require the brain to adapt to them allowing the study of the plasticity capacities of the brain and the embodiment of external devices.

Selected Publications

> Evan R. Harrell, Matías A. Goldin, Brice Bathellier, Daniel E. Shulz (2020) An elaborate sweep-stick code in rat barrel cortex. Science Advances 6 (38):eabb7189. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb7189

> Matias A. Goldin, Evan R. Harrell, Luc Estebanez and Daniel E. Shulz (2018) Rich spatio-temporal stimulus dynamics unveil sensory specialization in cortical area S2. Nature Communications 9:4053, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06585-4

> Eugenia Vilarchao, Luc Estebanez, Daniel Shulz and Isabelle Férézou (2018) Supra-barrel distribution of directional tuning for global motion in the mouse somatosensory cortex. Cell reports, 22 no13, 3534-3547. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.03.006

> Luc Estebanez, Julien Bertherat, Daniel E. Shulz, Laurent Bourdieu, and Jean-François Léger (2016) A radial map of multiwhisker correlation selectivity in the rat barrel cortex. Nature Communications, 7: 13528. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13528

> Luc Estebanez, Sami El Boustani, Alain Destexhe and Daniel Shulz (2012) Correlated input reveals coexisting coding schemes in a sensory cortex, Nature Neuroscience 15 No12: 1691-1699. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3258

> Vincent Jacob, Julie Le Cam, Valerie Ego-Stengel and Daniel Shulz (2008) Emergent Properties of Tactile Scenes Selectively Activate Barrel Cortex Neurons, Neuron 60: 1112-1125. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.10.017

> Vincent Jacob, Daniel J. Brasier, Irina Erchova, Daniel E. Feldman and Daniel Shulz (2007) Spike timing-dependent synaptic depression in the in vivo barrel cortex of the rat, J Neurosci 27: 1271-84. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4264-06.2007

Team members


Aamir Abbasi
Pierre-Jean Arduin
Julien Bertherat
Yves Boubenec
Irina Erchova
Matias Goldin
Dorian Goueytes
Evan Harrell
Vincent Jacob
Pauline Kerekes
Julie LeCam
Tadeu Mello eSouza
Eugenia Vilarchao