The mammalian nervous system has evolved to generate a wide repertoire of motor behaviours that ensure survival. From object manipulation and tool use, to complex locomotion and prey capture, the nervous system continuously processes sensory information to initiate, coordinate and update motor actions.
Our goal is to understand the neural circuit mechanisms that underpin voluntary motor control. We use the mouse as a tractable model of mammalian motor control and focus on a cellular and systems-level understanding of how distributed brain areas combine to implement action selection, execution, and adaptation.
Our projects use a suite of behavioural tasks including object manipulation, reach-to-grasp and touchscreen-based tasks. Combining high-resolution 3D tracking of limb movements with neural recordings, we aim to model how the nervous system controls and adapts movements depending on environmental requirements.
We monitor neural activity in vivo using patch-clamp electrophysiology, high density silicon probe recordings and mesoscale / multiphoton imaging. In collaboration with the Institute for Adaptive and Neuronal Computation we employ data-driven approaches to explore systems level computations and their neural implementations across brain regions.
To probe circuit level function, we use a combination of viral tracing, cell-specific perturbations and gene manipulation, approaches that allow us to interrogate the principal mechanisms of adaptive motor control at various levels of implementation.