Neural Circuits & Motor Behaviour


How is movement encoded in the brain? Using the neocortex and cerebellum as model systems, our research focusses on unravelling the complex cellular and circuit mechanisms underpinning simple and skilled motor behaviours. By employing a multi-level cellular and systems neuroscience approach combining in vivo patch-clamp electrophysiology, two-photon imaging, viral-based manipulation techniques and quantitative behaviour, we aim to generate new insights into the neural computations that underlie different motor behaviours.


We aim to decipher the cellular and circuit mechanisms that initiate and control simple and complex motor behaviours.

To do this we employ a multi-level cellular and systems neuroscience approach combining several in vivo strategies.




We are exploring the cellular mechanisms that transfrom sensorimotor synaptic input into behaviourally relevant patterns of motor commands in both the motor cortex and cerebellum. To do this we use a combination of in vivo patch-clamp ephys and 2-photon somatic and dendritic calcium imaging during motor behaviour.


How are population level representations of movement organised in motor areas? What organising principles govern excitatory/inhibitory microcircuit activity during movement? We are addressing these questions using in vivo 2-photon population calcium imaging in molecularly defined populations of excitatory and inhibitory neurons.


Neuronal processing in the cortex and cerebellum is under potent neuromodulatory control from long-range noradrenergic, dopaminergic and cholinergic inputs. We combine viral-based optogenetics, kinematic analysis and in vivo ephys to investigate how neuromodulation shapes neuronal activity and motor behaviour.


We have developed a range of behavioural paradigms to investigate cellular and circuit representations of movement during simple and skilled motor behaviours. Measurements of task success combined with 2D / 3D kinematic tracking of limb movements provide metrics for characterising preferred/optimal movement strategies.

Join Us

We welcome inquiries from enthusiastic, driven individuals who would like to join our multidisciplinary lab. If interested, please email a C.V. and description of your specific interests to Prospective masters and PhD students should visit the CIP or Edinburgh Neuroscience websites for details. There are a range of funding opportunities for postdocs which can be discussed on an informal basis.

Find Us



Duguid Lab
Centre for Integrative Physiology
School of Biomedical Sciences
The University of Edinburgh
Hugh Robson Building
Scotland, UK

The lab is located in the Hugh Robson Building on the north side of George Square (as shown on the map). To reach the lab by public transport, take a direct train or Airlink (service 100) / tram from Edinburgh Airport to Waverley Station. From the station it is a 10 minute walk or 5 minute taxi ride to George Square. Upon arrival at the Hugh Robson Building ask the receptionist to call ext. 50-3113.

© Duguid Lab 2018