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Prof Roger Lemon
Institute of Neurology , UCL
12 Queen Square
Prof Roger Lemon profile picture
  • Emeritus Professor
  • UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
Research Themes
Research Summary
My laboratory is devoted to understanding the cortical control of hand and finger movements in humans and in non-human primate models. We are particularly interested in the circuits which control skilled movements of the hands and digits: how are these movements encoded in identified cortical output neurons and how do populations of these neurons work together to generate specific hand movements? Our work has provided evidence that neurons with direct cortico-motoneuronal projections from primary motor cortex to spinal motoneurons are particularly important in hand control. We have developed multiple electrode techniques which allow us to make simultaneous recording, in the awake monkey, of spike trains from small arrays of identified output neurons, together with local field potentials from the same electrode sites. Neurons are identified by antidromic activation and synaptic activation from other cortical sites. We now make simultaneous recordings from different parts of the cortical motor network., allowing us to address important issues such as how is information transmitted between different nodes in the network? Currently we are focusing on transmission of information related to shape, size and other properties of graspable objects through the posterior parietal area AIP, ventral premotor cortex (area F5) and primary motor cortex (M1), all components of the â??visuomotor grasping circuitâ??. In collaboration with colleagues at RIKEN-BSI in Japan we are now participating in an exciting new project looking at how these circuits are involved in a particularly important type of skilled hand behavior: the use of tools.

We also have a major interest in the comparative biology of hand function and its neural control.

Our interest is prompted not only by the need to understand how cortical circuits function to produce skilled hand and finger movements, but also because these 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. We use a variety of non-invasive techniques to conduct parallel studies in human volunteers and in patients.

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