Bjørg Elisabeth KILAVIK



I'm a Neuroscientist working in the Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone (INT) in Marseille, France, a joint CNRS and Aix-Marseille University research unit.

I studied math, informatics and physics in Trondheim, Norway, culminating in a master's degree in biophysics. I then narrowed in on Neuroscience, and went to Germany for my PhD studies. This was followed by post-doc research in Italy, France and Japan before landing permanently in Marseille.

My current research aims at contributing to our understanding of the neuronal dynamics underlying visuomotor integration and spatio-temporal attention in cortical networks.


We study task-related and spontaneous behavioral dynamics in nonhuman primates performing complex visuomotor tasks that engage spatio-temporal attention. We link the behavior to intra- and inter-areal layer-specific neuronal dynamics across parieto-motor cortical networks. I'm mainly an experimentalist, but collaborations with computational neuroscientists permit addressing these questions from an interdisciplinary perspective. Central topics are:

Timing & Transient Dynamics

Time is intrinsic to all brain processes, and central to motor planning (Kilavik et al. 2014 ; Kilavik & Riehle 2010).

We have shown how temporal expectations shape anticipatory and transient response dynamics related to visual information processing in individual neurons (Confais et al. 2012 ; Kilavik 2018) and in neuronal populations (Kilavik et al. 2009 ; Kilavik et al. 2010) in the motor cortex.

We currently use behavioral tasks with high temporal predictability, which maximizes temporal attention and anticipation during visuomotor integration, to study how intra- and inter-areal interactions are pre-shaped for optimizing performance.

Role of Beta Rhythms

Beta rhythms are enigmatic and their potential role(s) in sensorimotor functions and network communication remain unclear despite more than 75 years of collective scientific efforts (Kilavik et al. 2013 ; Schmidt et al. 2019).

We have described context specific beta frequency modulations that are informative about movement preparation (Kilavik et al. 2012 ; Kilavik et al. 2014). We recently also described distinct sources and behavioral correlates of motor cortical low and high beta (Nougaret et al. 2023). We furthermore explore the relationship between beta rhythms and local spiking dynamics (Confais et al. 2020).

We currently explore the laminar diversity of motor cortical beta rhythms (Lopez-Galdo et al. 2023)

Lab Members

I work in the Cognitive Motor Control (CoMCo) research team @ INT. CoMCo unites several independent PIs using complementary approaches towards understanding complex behavior and the underlying neuronal codes. Within this team, I direct a lab.

Current Lab Members

  • Simon Nougaret (post-doc)
  • Laura Lopez-Galdo (PhD student, co-supervised with Demian Battaglia)
  • Nilanjana Nandi (PhD student, co-supervised with Simon Nougaret)
  • Laurie Mifsud (PhD student, co-supervised with Matthieu Gilson)

Former Lab Members

  • Emile Caytan (M2 student, co-supervised with Frederic Barthelemy)
  • Julien Poitreau (M2 student)
  • Lucas Silvagnoli (M1 student)
  • Sarah Palmis (M2 student)
  • Nathalie Pallot-Kwak (M2 student)
  • Joachim Confais (PhD student; co-cupervised with Alexa Riehle)

News & Events

Research is a long process, and goals sometimes feel far ahead. Events should be marked and celebrated :-)

March 2024.

We organize a small Workshop on Mechanisms of CNS Transient Dynamics, with an excellent list of invited speakers with complementary experimental and computational approaches. The workshop is partly funded by the NeuroSchool.

March 2023.

Welcome to Laurie Mifsud who starts her PhD research under supervision of Matthieu Gilson @ the INT BraiNets team, and myself @ the INT CoMCo team. Her project focuses on modeling of biological neuronal network processing, and transformation of neuronal representations from stimuli to motor responses, with a specific focus on the role of spike synchrony.

July 2022.

We are happy to announce that Nilanjana Nandi was successful in obtaining an international PhD grant from the NeuroSchool. She will join us in December, and study fronto-parietal neuronal interactions underlying visuomotor spatio-temporal attention. She will be co-supervised by Simon Nougaret.

May 2020.

Our MSCA ITN project In2PrimateBrains was funded, and will run from 2021-25!

  • A training-through-research programme dedicated to the study of neuronal intra and inter-areal communication in non-human primate brains.
  • Coordinated with Thomas Brochier @ INT CoMCo team.
  • 11 Public and Private Sector Beneficiaries across France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Belgium and UK.
  • Initial support by the French ANR, allowing to establish the international consortium.
  • Welcome to Laura Lopez-Galdo as PhD student co-supervised by Demian Battaglia.

November 2019.

PrimCorNet was financed as a FLAG-ERA HBP Partnering Project, and will run from 2020-23.

  • PrimCorNet will combine experimental and modeling work to explore how local and large-scale dynamics are shaped within and across primate visuo-parieto-frontal cortical networks.
  • The other PIs are Thomas Brochier @ INT, Georgia Gregoriou @ FORTH (Crete), and Sacha van Albada @ Forschungzentrum (Juelich).
  • Welcome to Simon Nougaret as post-doc working on this project!