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Modeling and Identification of the corticospinal circuits



The goal of this project is to develop and test system identification techniques for the identification of the corticospinal circuits.


In controlling movements humans use different levels of the central nervous system: the spinal cord, the brainstem and multiple areas of the cortex. Motor commands are generated by the primary motor cortex and are sent towards the muscles. Sensory feedback takes the reverse pathway and travels from the muscles towards the cortex where it is processed and new motor commands are generated based on the sensory feedback.

Currently, corticomuscular coherence is used to quantify the functional coupling between cortex and muscles in motor control. Coherence does not provide functional or dynamical information about the underlying system. Within this project we will apply system identification to characterize the dynamical properties of the corticospinal and corticomuscular circuits involved in motor control.


System identification of closed-loop systems, such as the motor control system, uses external perturbations in order to ‘open’ the system. We will use mechanical perturbations of the wrist as a perturbation during a force task. The EMG and EEG signals will be measured in order to measure the response of the system.

Different types of perturbations are used in combination with different coupling measures, such as corticomuscular coherence and stretch evoked potentials, to quantify corticomuscular coupling.

History and Milestones


Start Project


First experiments on CMC using the Wristalyzer


Bachelor assignment “CMC in force and position tasks” by Irene Staal


Start of METC approved study: corticomuscular coupling in response to mechanical perturbations.


Collaboration with dr. Carel Meskers (Leiden University Medical Centre) on the EXPLORE-stroke project: Corticomuscular coupling after stroke.


Master assignment “Assessing afferent pathways to improve predictions of motor recovery after stroke” by Sarah Zandvliet (Faculty of human movement sciences, VU, Amsterdam, the Netherlands)


Master assignment “The afferent contribution to corticomuscular coherence using a neuronal model of the spinal cord” by Clément Rohner (EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland)


Full paper accepted for publication: Campfens et al. 2013 Exp Brain Res


Conference contributions