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Publiée le 07/04/11 à 08h41

Licence Creative Commons CC-By-NC

The lamprey is one of the few vertebrates in which the neural control system for goal-directed locomotion including steering and control of body orientation is well described at a cellular and synaptic level. In this lecture I will review the extensive modelling at a large-scale level, which we are performing not only of the brainstem spinal cord networks underlying propulsion, but also the tectal mechanisms involved in steering and the forebrain mechanisms underlying selection of different aspects of motor behaviour. We are able to model the system with compartmental Hodgkin-Huxley neurons and with the approximate number of neurons that are responsible in the behaving animal (10000 neurons at spinal level). We also demonstrate how the network activity and direction of motion can be controlled by interacting with only a few out of hundred segments. This arrangement simplifies the control of motion and steering. Moreover, the data from biology and modelling is also used to control a bio-inspired lamprey robot in interaction with the Dario laboratory in Pisa.