Guy Chéron is a neurophysiologist at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). After his PhD thesis dedicated to the ageing of the sensory system in human, he was Prof. JE Desmedt’s assistant at the Brain Unit Research (ULB). From 1979 to 1983, he characterized several farfield components of the somatosensory evoked potentials in human, including the spinal N13-P13, which were rapidly used in clinical neurology (e.g. multiple sclerosis, stroke). J.E. Desmedt and G. Chéron were also the first to show the existence of the N30 frontal evoked potential as a specific wave with a traceable evolution during ageing. This wave is now considered as a physiological index of the dopaminergic pathway and commonly used to assess biological severity in Parkinson’s disease. He then developed a number of gating paradigms and recently revealed the oscillatory mechanism involved in cortical processing of somatosensory information, creating perspectives for diagnosis and specific management of neurological and psychiatric disorders that involve abnormal brain rhythms. From 1983 to 1997, G. Chéron and E. Godaux have contributed to the first biological identification of the oculomotor neural integrator (NI) in the nucleus prepositus of the cat. This evidence has been recognized by D. Robinson (see Neuroscience Review, 1989), the proponent in 1968 of the existence of a NI (in the mathematical sense) in the brain. The NI represents a group of neurons that converts vestibular input into eye-position commands. The NI is central to gaze stability, which may be perturbed in a wide range of clinical conditions. G. Chéron has also contributed to the description of the firing behaviour and the pharmacological properties of this network and to the identification of the neural signal provided by the NI to the cerebellar flocculus involved in the eye-head coordination. In particular, G. Chéron and his collaborators were the first to demonstrate the involvement of the NMDA receptors in the neuronal processing of the NI. These results have been extended in several species. This discovery is important for neuroscience because the integrator concept has been recently generalized for all types of movement and also for a mechanism of working memory in cognitive field. The recent work of G. Chéron, since 1997, has focused on the cerebellum. He thus discovered and finely characterized high-frequency oscillation (160 Hz) in Purkinje cell firing in alert mice with abnormalities at several levels along calcium signalling. He then documented this signature of stereotyped cerebellar functioning in different mouse models of human disorders, whether genetic or acquired, such as Angelman syndrome and the fetal alcohol syndrome. Pharmacological modulation of the 160 Hz oscillation with agents acting on GABAergic, glutamatergic and gap junction neurotransmission paves the way for new therapeutic interventions. Based on these basic experiments performed in animals, G. Chéron has also developed several approaches in translational research and integrative neuroscience in human centered on two main themes: motor control and brain oscillations. For example, G. Chéron’s group was the first to demonstrate the neural origin of the kinematic planar covariation rule by studying the very first step of toddlers. Since 2002, in collaboration with the Collège de France (Prof. A. Berthoz), G. Chéron has been the principal investigator of the NeuroCog and NeuroSpat space research programs carried out in the International Space Station aiming at better understanding EEG rhythms and their involvement in perception, attention, memorization, decision and action in different sensori-motor and cognitive processes. This expertise is currently applied by his group on extraction of pertinent EEG signals related to locomotion for brain-computer interface-based rehabilitation of patients with gait disorders such as cerebral palsy, stroke, brain or spinal injury and multiple sclerosis.
G. Chéron was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Leopold II in 1997. He received the Biomechanics Prize (Paris, 1987) and the MAAF Health Prize (Montréal, 2000) to acknowledge his contribution to motor sciences. He has over 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals, wrote a book on Movement Physiology (McGrawHill, 1989). He is a member of the editorial board of the Scientific World Journal and the Open Journal of Neuroscience and expert for 32 international journals. Its citation impact from 1980 to 2010 is 2.237.