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Cognition, Action, and sensorimotor plasticity

Elizabeth Thomas

Elisabeth-Thomas email elizabeth.thomas{[at]} adresse Laboratoire INSERM U1093
Université de Bourgogne
Institut Marey, Maison de la Métalurgie
64 rue de Sully
21000 Dijon
telephone +33 3 80 39 67 84
fax +33 3 80 39 67 49
bureau Room n°207


2013 – L’Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches get pdf
Title: Computational Neuroscience : From Network to Behavior
Committee Members : Alain Destexhe, Michel Paindavoine, Thierry Pozzo, Stephane Swinnen, Simon Thorpe, Krasimira Tsaneva-Atanasova
2002 – Equivalent PhD in Biomedical Sciences : Docteur en Sciences Biomédicales, Université de Liége, Belgium.
1993 - Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Texas, Austin, U.S.A.
Title : Investigation of Dynamic and Static Aspects of a Thalamocortical Simulation
1987 – Bachelor’s in Chemistry (summa cum laude), St. John's University, New York


Current Research

I am currently carrying out computational and experimental work on the neuromuscular system. I have the following projects underway:

1) A study on muscular synergies during motor control that permit a reduction in the number of degrees of freedom involved when executing a movement. Our focus has been on whole body pointing tasks. The use of this task permits an understanding of how the nervous system controls the interaction of focal and postural modules.

2) Machine learning methods for identifying ensemble changes in the nervous system. These could be populations of neuronal activity, EMGs or kinematic patterns. With regards to classes, they could be different movement types or populations such as patients and controls.

3) Modifications of movement patterns with ageing


Previous research activities

1995- 2005:
Research assistant in the laboratory of Professeur T. Grisar, directeur of the Centre de la Neurobiologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire, Université de Liège, Belgique. My research activities during this period involved the following :

• In vitro sharp electrode recordings of the MCHR1 knockout mouse. The study focused on the alterations in the electrophysiological properties of neurons in the hippocampal CA1 area.
• Hodgkin-Huxley simulations in order to understand the connections between alterations in ionic channels and the development of synchrony between thalamic and cortical neurons. The synchronisation between these two systems is especially pertinent to sleep and epilepsy.
• The development of a neural network (Kohonen network) for the analysis of population encoding in the inferior temporal cortex of the monkey. The experimental data for the project was supplied by researchers from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL).
• The development of a computer model of habituation and its deficits in the auditory cortex. The work was carried out in collaboration with clinicians treating people with migraine at the Neurology Department of the Medical School at the University of Liège.

Postdoctoral fellow. Department of Nuerology, University of Wisconsin, United States.
• Use of neural network simulation packet NEURON in order to study the effects of modifications in GABAA on network synchrony.

Research Assistant, University of Texas, Texas, U.S.A.
• Development of computational model for the study of thalamocortical synchronization during sleep.


Thomas E, French R, Alizee G and Coull J (2019) Having your cake and eating it: Faster responses with reduced muscular activation while learning a temporal interval. Neuroscience 410:68-75.

Casteran M, Hilt PM, Mourey F, Manckoundia P, French R and Thomas E (2018) Shifts in key time points and strategies for a multisegment motor task in healthy aging subjects. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 73:1609-1617.

Embodiment and the origin of interval timing: kinematic and electromyographic data. Addyman C, Rocha S, Fautrelle L, French RM, Thomas E and Mareschal D (2017) Exp Brain Res 235:923-930.

Torlay L, Perrone-Bertolotti M, Thomas E and Baciu M (2017)
Machine learning-XG boost analysis of language networks to classify patients with epilepsy. Brain Informatics DOI 10.1007/S40708-017-0065-7.

Addyman C, French RM, Thomas E (2016)
Computational models of interval timing. Current opinion in Behavioral Sciences 8:140-146.

Casteran M, Putot A, Pfitzenmeyer F, Thomas E, Manckoundia P (2016)
Analysis of the impact of a cognitive task on the posture of elderly subjects with depression compared with healthy elderly subjects. Clin Neurophysiol 127:3406-3411.

Thomas E and French RM (2016)
Grandmother cells: much ado about nothing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1080/23273798.

Addyman C, French R and Thomas E (2015)
Computational models of interval timing. Current Opinions in Behavioral Sciences. (accepted)

French, R. M. and Thomas, E. (2015).
Interactive Effects of Explicit Emergent Structure: A Major Challenge for Cognitive Computational Modeling. Topics in Cognitive Science, 7(2), 206-216.

Fautrelle L, Mareschal D, French R and Thomas E (2015)
Motor activity improves temporal expectancy. PLoS One doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0119187.

Laroche D, Tolambiya A, Morisset C, Maillefert JF, French RM, Ornetti P, Thomas E (2014)
A classification study of kinematic gait trajectories in hip osteoarthritis. Computers in Medicine and Biology 55:42-48.

French RM, Addyman C, Mareschal D and Thomas E (2014)
GAMIT: A fading Gaussian activation model of interval-timing: Unifying prospective and retrospective time estimation. Timing and Time Perception Reviews 1:2.

Casteran Matthieu, Manckoundia Patrick, Pozzo Thierry, Thomas Elizabeth (2013). Alterations with Movement Duration in the Kinematics of a Whole Body Pointing Movement. PLoS ONE 8(1): e52477. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052477

Tolambiya A, Chiovetto E, Pozzo T and Thomas E (2012) Modulation of anticipatory postural activity for multiple conditions of whole body pointing tasks. Neuroscience 210:179-190.

Addyman, C., French, R. M., Mareschal, D., and Thomas, E. (2011). Learning to perceive time: A connectionist, memory-decay model of the development of interval timing in infants. In Proceedings of the Thirty-Third Annual Cognitive Science Society Conference, 354-359.

Tolambiya A, Thomas E, Chiovetto E, Berret B, Pozzo T (2011) An Ensemble Analysis of Electromyographic Activity during Whole Body Pointing with the Use of Support Vector Machines. PLoS One 6(7): e20732.

S. Nair, R. French, D. Laroche, E. Thomas (2010) The Application of machine learning algorithms to the analysis of electromyographic patterns from arthhritic patients. IEEE Transactions on Neuronal Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering 18: 174-184.

French, R. M. and Thomas, E. (2008) From Associations to Rules: Connectionist Models of Behavior and Cognition. Singapore: World Scientific.

Laroche D, Ornetti P, Thomas E, Ballay Y, Maillefert JF, Pozzo T (2007) Kinematic adaptation of locomotor pattern in rheumatoid arthritis patients with forefoot impairements. Exp Brain Res. 176(1):85-97.

Waroux O, Massote L, Alleva L, Graulich A, Thomas E, Liégois J-F, Scuvée-Moreau J and Seutin V (2005) SK channels control the firing pattern of midbrain dopaminergic neurons in vivo. European J Neuroscience 21: 2837-44

Thomas E , Adamantidis A, Foidart A, Tyhon A, Coumans B, Minet A, Tirelli E, Seutin V, Grisar T and Lakaye B (2005) Disrupting the melanin concentrating hormone receptor 1 in mice leads to cognitive deficits and alterations of NMDA receptor function; European J Neuroscience 21: 2837-44. (reviewed in Highlights of Nature Neuroscience Reviews 6:501) PDF file

Scuvée-Moreau J, Boland A, Graulich A, Van Overmeire L, D’hoedt D, Graulich-Lorge F, Thomas E, Abras A, Stocker M, Liégois J-F & Seutin V (2004) Electrophysiological characterization of the SK channel blockers methyl-laudanosine and methyl-noscapine in cell lines and rat brain slices. British J of Pharamacology 143: 753-764.

Thomas E. (2002) Modeling Individual Neurons and Small Neural Networks. Dans Nadel L. (ed) Encyclopaedia of Cognitive Science, Vol 3: 59-66. London, Nature Publishing Group.

Lakaye B., Thomas E., Minet A. & Grisar T. (2002) The Genetic Absence Epilepsy Rat from Strasbourg (GAERS), a rat model of absence epilepsy: Computer modeling and differential gene expression. Epilesia 43 Suppl 5: 123-9.

Thomas E., Sandor P., Ambrosini A. & Schoenen J. (2002) A neural network model of sensitization and intensity dependence in migraine. Cephalalgia 22:48-53.

French R. M. & Thomas E. (2001) The dynamical hypothesis in cognitive science: A review essay of Mind as Motion. Minds and Machines 11:101-111.

Thomas E., Van Hulle M. & Vogels R. (2000).Encoding of categories by non-category specific neurons in the inferior temporal cortex. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 13:190-200

Thomas, E.
& Grisar T. (2000) Increased synchrony with increase of a low threshold calcium conductance in a model thalamic network: a phase shift mechanism. Neural Computation 12: 1553-1573.

French R. M. & Thomas E. (2000) Why localist connectionist models are inadequate for categorization. The Behavior and Brain Sciences 23(4), 477.

Thomas E. (1999) Dynamics of thalamocortical spindle oscillations. Oscillations in Neural Systems, Erlbaum, New York p 133-148.

Thomas E., Van Hulle M. and Vogels R (1998) The study of the neuronal encoding of categorization with the use of a Kohonen network. Proceedings, 5th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop. Connectionist Models in Cognitive Neuroscience. Birmingham, England, Springer Verlag, 1998.

French, R. M & Thomas, E. (1998) The Dynamical Hypothesis: One Battle Behind. The Behavior and Brain Sciences, 21: 615-665.

Thomas E. & Lytton W. (1997) Computer model of antiepileptic effects mediated by alterations in GABAA mediated inhibition. NeuroReport 9(4): 691-696.

Thomas E & Grisar T (1997) Transition to Subthreshold activity with the use of phase shifting in a model thalamic network. Applied Nonlinear Dynamics and Stochastic Systems near the Millenium. AIP Conference Proceedings 411: 303-309.

Lytton W. & Thomas E. (1997) Modeling thalamocortical oscillations. In Cerebral Cortex. Volume 13. Models of Cortical Circuitry. Philip S. Ulinski and Edward G. Jones (Editors), Plenum Press, New York.

Grisar T., Lakaye B. & Thomas E. (1996) Molecular basis of neuronal biorhythms and paroxysms. Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry 104: 770-774.

Thomas E. & Wyatt R. (1995) A computational model of thalamocortical spindle oscillations. Mathematics and Computers in Simulation 40: 35-69. Elsevier Press, Amsterdam.

Thomas E., Patton P., & Wyatt R. (1991) A computational model of the vertical anatomical organization of primary visual cortex. Biological Cybernetics 65: 189-202.

Patton P., Thomas E., & Wyatt R. (1992) A computational model of vertical signal propagation in the primary visual cortex. Biological Cybernetics 68: 43-52.




ANR-10-ORAR-006-03 Grounding Early Time Perception in Motor Activity 92 000

Electrophysiological analysis of thalamic brain slices from the GAERS rat model of absence epilepsy. Fonds Spéciaux pour la Recherche, Crédits Classiques, Université de Liège €37 500

Electrophysiological and pharmacological characterisation of rat mesencepahlic dopaminergic neurons. Fonds National de Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) Belgique €10 000

Rehabilitation through the use of motor cognition and virtual reality. Plan d’actions régional pour l’innovation. Postdoctoral grant. Conséil Régional de Bourgogne, France. € 24 000


Principal Investigator

The use of neural networks for the analysis and automatic classification of locomotor deficits. Conseil Régional de Bourgogne, France. € 45 000

The use of artificial neural networks and kernel methods for the analysis of kinematic and electromyographic data recorded during gait. Foreign postdoctoral grant. Conseil Régional de Bourgogne, France. € 24 000


Download PDF Lessons

L1 :

- Introduction à la Neuroanatomie et la Neurophysiologie
- Le système nerveux: contrôle du mouvement
- Les reflexes et programs spinaux
- Contrôle central du mouvement
- Les voies motrices descendantes
- Système sensoriel somatique
- Testez votre connaisance
- Corrigé Testez votre connaisance


L3 APA :

Trauma of the Spinal Cord

- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Test 2013


M1 APA :

- Déficience, plasticité et réapprentissage de la fonction perceptivo-motrice
- La régénération axonale
Des Anomalies de l’Atteinte, Saisie et Manipulation des Objets
- Quelques stratégies d'intervention


MVibot :

- Human Vision: Electrophysiology and Psychophysics
- Onto the Brain !
- Depth perception
- Artificial Neural Networks: Self Organizing Networks
- The study of the neuronal encoding of visual categorization with the use of a Kohonen network
- The Retina
- Human Vision: Electrophysiology and Psychophysics


M2 :

- Diseases of the neuromuscular system
- L’emploi des outils computationnels en vue de la compréhension du système neuromusculaire
- A Classification Study of Kinematic Gait Variables in Hip Osteoarthritis

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