How do we sense our own motion, and how do we orient ourselves when moving in 3D space? My laboratory studies these questions by combining mathematical modeling and extracellular neuronal recordings in behaving Marmoset monkeys. Some of my current research projects are: Three-dimensional navigation: I study how head-direction cells in the limbic system (the ‘neuronal compass’) encode the 3D orientation of the head. Sensory signals for spatial navigation: I study how the brain integrates self-motion signals with visual landmarks to maintain spatial orientation. Self-motion sensation: I study how the brain merges multiple sensory signals from the inner ear, vision and proprioception, together with motor commands, to create a sense of self-motion that underlies spatial cognition, gaze stabilization and postural control.
Angelaki, D. E., Ng, J., Abrego, A. M., Cham, H. X., Asprodini, E. K., Dickman, J. D., & Laurens, J. (2020). A gravity-based three-dimensional compass in the mouse brain. Nature communications, 11(1), 1-13.
Laurens, J., & Angelaki, D. E. (2018). The brain compass: a perspective on how self-motion updates the head direction cell attractor. Neuron, 97(2), 275-289.
Laurens, J., & Angelaki, D. E. (2017). A unified internal model theory to resolve the paradox of active versus passive self-motion sensation. Elife, 6, e28074.
Laurens, J., Kim, B., Dickman, J. D., & Angelaki, D. E. (2016). Gravity orientation tuning in macaque anterior thalamus. Nature neuroscience, 19(12), 1566.
Laurens, J., Meng, H., & Angelaki, D. E. (2013). Neural representation of orientation relative to gravity in the macaque cerebellum. Neuron, 80(6), 1508-1518.
Laurens, J., Meng, H., & Angelaki, D. E. (2013). Computation of linear acceleration through an internal model in the macaque cerebellum. Nature neuroscience, 16(11), 1701.