Sensory, Perceptual, and Cognitive Neuroscience

Section Head:  Prof. Micah Murray (CHUV-UNIL) 

The Sensory, Perceptual, and Cognitive Neuroscience Section is a multi-disciplinary and inter-departmental group, whose offices are located in the centre of Lausanne. Our laboratory infrastructure, located at the CHUV, includes several high-density lab-based and mobile EEG systems, eye-tracking, TMS and neuronavigation system, AR/VR technologies as well as psychophysics facilities. Our scientists investigate the spatial and temporal brain dynamics of sensory, perceptual, and cognitive functions in healthy and clinical populations across the lifespan. We also have a strong interest in the continued development of analysis methods as well as in the training of students, researchers and clinicians in the use and application of these methods.


EEG Methods development

Description: EEG has come a long way over the past century. Despite these remarkable achievements, at least two major issues represent pressing challenges. First, the complexity of the neurophysiology across macroscopic, mesoscopic and microscopic levels means that the understanding of the exact generation and functional significance of EEG remains in its infancy and a domain of active research and a certain degree of debate. Second, the status quo in the field is ill-defined. The analysis of the electroencephalogram lacks standardization of the processing steps. While other neuroimaging techniques have consolidated evidence-based workflows, there remains little consensus on a shared pipeline across clinical and research communities.

Investigators: Micah Murray (CHUV), Andrea Biasiucci (CHUV), Benedetta Franceschiello (Fondation Asile des aveugles), Chrysa Retsa (CHUV)

Multisensory processes

Description: Multisensory processes are fundamental as a scaffolding for perception, cognition and lifelong learning. Currently, it is poorly understood when and how stimuli from different sensory modalities are integrated rather than treated as separate entities. Multisensory research in humans has focused on the phenomena of cataloguing and their neural correlates. This research has been revolutionary on several levels. Nevertheless, many fundamental mechanisms remain undetermined. By filling these gaps, this project will have a direct impact on models of functional brain organization and a more precise application of multisensory processes in education and rehabilitation.

Investigators: Micah Murray (CHUV), Chrysa Retsa (CHUV), Anna Gaglianese (CHUV), Pawel Matusz (HES-SO Valais), Mark Wallace (Vanderbilt University)

Neonatal brain function

Description: Every year, 15 million infants are born prematurely worldwide. These infants will contribute disproportionally to the societal burden of neurodevelopmental problems from infancy to adulthood. More than three quarters of preterm infants with impairments or delays will have mild-to-moderate severity problems in early childhood, with intellectual and behavioral consequences of prematurity apparent only at school age and beyond. Almost all preterm infants suffer from abnormal brain maturation and its developmental consequences are evident, even though they are often overlooked when compared to the rare overt neural insults of extremely preterm infants. We identify electrophysiologic markers of these consequences and develop novel intervention approaches for their remediation.

Investigators: Micah Murray (CHUV), Nathalie Maitre (Nationwide Children’s Hospital), Chrysa Retsa (CHUV), Juliane Schneider (CHUV), Pawel Matusz (HES-SO Valais), Paul Yoder (Vanderbilt University)

Vision Rehabilitation

Description: We focus on the development of methods to improve screening and diagnostic efficiency and to enhance vision rehabilitation. First, are developing highly informative, yet affordable methods for screening. Second, we are developing cutting-edge technologies to better understand the neurobiological mechanisms of visual dysfunctions and utilize this knowledge to improve the extant rehabilitation approaches. The project assembles a team of basic, clinical, and applied researchers in a set of 4 workpackages (WPs). WP1 focuses on the development of MRI methods for the eye and complete eye-brain circuit. WP2 combines pupillometry, photic blink resposnes, and visual evoked potentials to characterize the integrity of the complete visual pathway and its subdivisions. WP3 generates new diagnostic and rehabilitation tools for low-vision patients as well as characterizes structure-function relationships in retinal disease. WP4 combines novel therapeutic strategies based on AR/VR with neurophysiologic characterization of the core pathophysiology in pediatric amblyopia.

Investigators: Micah Murray (CHUV), Jean Roche (Fondation Asile des aveugles), Fatima Anaflous (Fondation Asile des aveugles), Benedetta Franceschiello (Fondation Asile des aveugles), Aki Kawasaki (Fondation Asile des aveugles), Pawel Matusz (HES-SO Valais)

Collaborators: Dimitri van der Ville (EPFL), Matthias Stuber (CHUV), Eleonora Fornari (CHUV), Pavan Sinha (MIT)