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Postdoc: Joachim Confais

Joachim Confais

Career Summary

2008 MsD. of Aix-Marseille University, in the Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France.
2008– 2013 Ph.D. of Aix-Marseille University, in the Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone, Marseille, France.
2013. 4 – Department of Neurophysiology, NCNP

Research Theme

Motor control, spinal cord, motor cortex, reaching movement, anticipation, action observation, monkey electrophysiology, timing.

Publications

  1. Kilavik BE, Roux S, Ponce-Alvarez A, Confais J, Grün S, Riehle A.  Long-term modifications in motor cortical dynamics induced by intensive practice. J Neurosci 29: 12653-12663, Oct 2009.
  2. Kilavik BE, Confais J, Ponce-Alvarez A, Diesmann M, Riehle A. Evoked potentials of motor cortical LFPs reflect task timing and behavioral performance. J Neurophysiol 104: 2338-2351, Sep 2010.
  3. Kilavik BE, Ponce-Alvarez A, Trachel R, Confais J, Takerkart S, Riehle A. Context-Related Frequency Modulations of Macaque Motor Cortical LFP Beta Oscillations. Cereb Cortex 22:2148–2159, Sep 2012.
  4. Confais J, Kilavik BE, Ponce-Alvarez A, Riehle A. On the anticipatory precue activity in motor cortex. J Neurosci 32:15359–15368, Oct 2012.

Invited book chapter

  1. Kilavik BE, Confais J, Riehle A (2013, submitted) Signs of time in motor cortex during movement preparation and cue anticipation. In: Psychophysical and physiological aspects of interval timing. Merchant H, Lafuente V (eds). Springer.

Research Grants

  • One year Msc fellowship for honorable results, French Ministry of Research, 2007
  • Three years PhD student fellowship, French Ministry of Research, 2008
  • One-year PhD student fellowship, Fondation pour la Recherche médicale (France), 2011

Self Introduction

I started my PhD in 2008 at the INT (Marseille, France), which was at this time called the INCM, under the direction of the Drs. Alexa Riehle and Bjørg Kilavik. During four years, I studied how the timing of a motor task influences the activity of motor cortex in various behavioral contexts. To do so, we recorded and analyzed the spiking activity and the Local Field Potentials (LFP) in the motor areas of two macaque monkeys. We showed that the duration of a delay separating the onset of a relevant cue from the execution of a movement greatly influence the amplitude of the LFPs evoked potentials (Kilavik et al. 2010). More surprisingly, we also showed that in anticipation of a relevant cue, the motor cortical neurons show a strong anticipatory activity predictive of their pattern of activity during movement execution itself (Confais et al. 2012).
After completing my PhD in March 2013, I started a post-doc project in April 2013 in the department of Neurophysiology of the NCNP (Tokyo, Japan), under the direction of the Dr. Kazuhiko Seki. Our project is to tackle the so-called mirror activity, which has been described a lot but only seldom explained. Recently, it has been shown (Kraskov et al. 2009, Vigneswaran et al. 2013) that cortical neurons projecting to the spinal cord show a modulation of activity during action observation. Our project is to trained a monkey to perform a task very similar to the one described in the above-cited papers, and to assess a putative modulation of activity of the spinal interneurons during action observation. Such results would greatly help to understand the functional meaning of this “mirror activity”.

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