Research Profile

Professor Roger Lemon
Cortical Control of Skilled Hand Function
This laboratory is devoted to understanding the cerebral control of hand and finger movements in humans and in non-human primate models.
Our interest is prompted by the need to understand why hand and finger movements are particularly affected by damage to the cortex, and its
major descending pathways, for instance as a result of stroke, spinal injury or cerebral palsy.

Our work has provided important evidence that direct cortico-motoneuronal (CM) projections from primary motor cortex to spinal motoneurons are particularly important for the performance of skilled hand and finger movements, and has addressed the question of how populations of corticospinal neurons control and encode commands for such movements.

Recently we have begun to explore how visual information about the shape, size and other properties of graspable objects modulates corticospinal outputs from primary motor cortex (M1) and the ventral premotor cortex (F5). Additionally, we are investigating the brain mechanisms involved in the use of tools by primates.

Selected References

Cattaneo L; Voss M; Brochier ;. Prabhu G; Wolpert DM; Lemon RN;(2005) A cortico-cortical mechanism mediating object-driven grasp in humans Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Brochier, T., Spinks, R.L., Umilta, M.A. & Lemon, R.N.(2004) Patterns of muscle activity underlying object-specific grasp by the macaque monkey Journal of Neurophsyiology

Shimazu, H., Maier, M.A., Cerri, G., Kirkwood, P.A. & Lemon, R.N.(2004) Macaque ventral premotor cortex exerts powerful facilitation of motor cortex outputs to upper limb motoneurones Journal of Neuroscience

Figure 1.A. Grasping task currently being used to investigate the properties of M1 and F5 neurons and B. their varying firing profiles for different objects, aligned to the release of a homepad at the initiation of a grasping movement after a period of object observation when the grasp is being planned
Figure 1.A. Grasping task currently being used to investigate the properties of M1 and F5 neurons and B. their varying firing profiles for different objects, aligned to the release of a homepad at the initiation of a grasping movement after a period of object observation when the grasp is being planned

Institute of Neurology - Queen Square - London - WC1N 3BG - Telephone: +44 (0)20 7837 3611 - Copyright © 1999-2005 UCL


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