Elucidating Functional Elements of Descending Control

Project: Research project

Description

Movement is the means of all animal behavior. The patterns of muscle activation that drive movement reflect an interplay between spinal circuits and brain areas like the motor cortex that engage these circuits through descending projections. Yet how these interactions give rise to the remarkable complexity, agility and precision of mammalian movement is poorly understood. One significant barrier to understanding here is the ambiguity of what are the basic functional elements involved. The discovery of subatomic particles in physics or of DNA structure in biochemistry illustrate how mechanistic insight can rapidly mount after the appropriate functional elements for explaining a given phenomenon are identified. My project aims to employ a new mouse behavioral paradigm my lab has developed to identify the groups of motor cortical neurons that reflect basic functional units for the brain’s control of movement. This will involve a range of contemporary genetic, physiological and computational methods with which I have gained expertise during my training.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date3/1/192/28/22

Funding

  • Whitehall Foundation, Inc. (2018-12-108)

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Animal Behavior
Physics
Motor Cortex
Brain
Motor Neurons
Biochemistry
Muscles
DNA
Drive