Julie Dethier

Ph.D. - Research fellow F.R.S.-FNRS

Systems and Modeling Research Unit



Montefiore Institute (Parking 32), 1.129

Quartier Polytech 1

Allée de la Découverte 10

B-4000 Liège (Sart-Tilman)


E-mail: jdethier@ulg.ac.be

CV: Updated in September 2015

LinkedIn: Link



2014 - 2015:       Doctoral research stay, Princeton University

                                VSRC under the supervision of Prof. Leonard

2011 - 2015:        Research fellow F.R.S.-FNRS, Ph.D. research in the Systems and

                                Modeling Research Unit, University of Liège, under the supervision of

                                Prof. Sepulchre, University of Cambridge

2010 - 2011:         Master of Science in Bioengineering, Stanford University

                                Laboratory work in the Brains in Silicon lab

2008 - 2010:         Master of Applied Sciences in Biomedical Engineering,

                                summa cum laude, University of Liège     

2005 - 2008:         Bachelor of Applied Sciences, summa cum laude, University of Liège

Research interests

For my Ph.D. research at the University of Liège under the supervision of  Prof. Sepulchre, Cambridge University, my center of interest is on a neuronal switch that connects unicellular and network rhythms.


Complete list: orbi


J. Dethier, G. Drion, A. Franci, and R. Sepulchre, A Positive Feedback at the Cellular Level Promotes Robustness and Modulation at the Circuit Level, Journal of Neurophysiology, in press [pdf]

G. Drion, A. Franci, J. Dethier, and R. Sepulchre, Dynamic Input Conductances Shape Neuronal Spiking, eNeuro, 1(2), 2015 [pdf]

J. Dethier, P. Nuyujukian, S.I. Ryu, K.V. Shenoy, and K. Boahen, Design and validation of a real-time spiking-neural-network decoder for brain-machine interfaces, Journal of Neural Engineering, 10, 036008, 2013 [pdf]


J. Dethier, G. Drion, A. Franci, and R. Sepulchre, Impacts of a unicellular mechanism on network behaviors, 32nd Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control, 2013 [pdf]

J. Dethier, D. Ernst, and R. Sepulchre, Neuromorphic reinforcement learning, 31st Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control, 2012 [pdf]

J. Dethier, P. Nuyujukian, C. Eliasmith, T. Stewart, S.A. Elassaad, K.V. Shenoy, and K. Boahen, A brain-machine interface operating with a real-time spiking neural network control algorithm, Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24, Curran Associates, Inc., pp. 2213-2221, 2012 [pdf]

J. Dethier, V. Gilja, VP. Nuyujukian, S.A. Elassaad, K.V. Shenoy, and K. Boahen, Spiking neural network decoder for brain-machine interfaces, IEEE EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering, IEEE Press, pp. 396-399, 2011 [pdf]


Doctoral thesis: The role of feedback in maintaining robustness and modulation across scales: Insights from cellular and network neurophysiology, September 2015 Advisor: Prof R. Sepulchre [pdf]

Master thesis: Design for a multi-channel recording and stimulation device, June 2010 Advisor: Prof J. Destiné [pdf]

Useful links:

Awards and Honors

For my master thesis, I worked on the realization of a multi-channel recording system for neural applications at imec, Leuven. The read-out conditioned and digitized eight channels and provides the digitized output to an existing TI MSP430 based microprocessor system for wired or wireless data handling. Advisor: Prof J. Destiné [pdf]


Biological rhythms play a major role in the functioning of the brain. However, the generation mechanisms and functions of these rhythms are still poorly understood. The particular rhythms of interest are the pathological beta-band oscillations in the basal ganglia, a group of subcortical nuclei that act as a cohesive functional unit, under parkinsonian conditions. The neurodegenerative disorder named Parkinson’s disease (PD) results from the death of dopamine-generating cells and correlates with severe motor symptoms. Recent progress in deep-brain stimulation (DBS) therapies gave access to subcortical recordings and revealed the highly rhythmic activities present in the basal ganglia: rhythmic bursting activity at the neurocellular level and beta frequency band oscillations at the network level. The strong beta oscillations in PD are believed to disturb the signaling patterns along the basal ganglia, altering the transfer of motor information through the cortico-basal ganglia-thalamocortical loops. Reductions in the level of the pathological oscillations, e.g. during dopamine therapies or DBS, often lead to an improvement of the motor symptoms. This research project aims at narrowing the gap between rhythms at the cellular and at the network levels for a better understanding of network oscillations’ generation and how oscillations affect a neural network’s information processing capabilities. The concepts and tools are developed in a general framework but they will be primarily specialized to the case of the basal ganglia and their switch to rhythmic behaviors.

2014:     WBI excellence grant for research stay in Princeton University

                Article in the «15e jour du mois», monthly magazine of ULg (Article)

                Participation to a Doc’café (Video)

2013:     LEAR Foundation Fellowship for research stays at Cambridge University

                Elected among the 20 Emerging Creative Walloons by TALK magazine (Article)

                Audience Award at the «Ma thèse en 180 secondes» contest, ULg final (Video)

2012:     Invited speaker at the LIEGE CREATIVE conference

2011:     2nd Best Poster Award, Symposium of the IEEE EMBS Benelux Chapter

                Speaker at the Stanford Bioengineering Department Commencement Ceremony

                Margareta Van Beneden Fellowship

2010:     B.A.E.F. Fellowship

                Fulbright Honorary Fellowship

                Rotary International, District 1630 Fellowship

                AILg Best Master’s Thesis Award, EVS Broadcast Equipment

2009:     Pisart Study Grant for Foreign Languages

2008:     Pisart Study Grant for University Entrance