Laurens Lab

Electrophysiology and modeling of navigation and vestibular systems

Research statement

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:

  1. Three-dimensional navigation: I study how head-direction cells in the limbic system (the ‘neuronal compass’) encode the 3D orientation of the head.
  2. Sensory signals for spatial navigation: I study how the brain integrates self-motion signals with visual landmarks to maintain spatial orientation.
  3. 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.

Key publications

Angelaki DE, Ng J, Abrego AM, Cham HX, Asprodini EK, Dickman JD, Laurens J (2020). A gravity-based three-dimensional compass in the mouse brain. Nature Communications 11(1), 1-13.

Laurens J, Angelaki DE (2018). The brain compass: a perspective on how self-motion updates the head direction cell attractor. Neuron, 97(2), 275-289.

Laurens J, Angelaki DE (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 JD, Angelaki DE (2016). Gravity orientation tuning in macaque anterior thalamus. Nature Neuroscience 19(12), 1566.

Laurens J, Meng H, Angelaki DE (2013). Neural representation of orientation relative to gravity in the macaque cerebellum. Neuron, 80(6) 1508-1518.

Laurens J, Meng H, Angelaki DE (2013). Computation of linear acceleration through an internal model in the macaque cerebellum. Nature Neuroscience 16(11), 1701.