Motor Cortex

Encoding of Cortical Information in the Coordination of Reach to Grasp and Feeding
2008 Seed Grant
Nicholas Hatsopoulos, Ph.D.
University of Chicago

The proposed research will investigate the neural basis of coordination in reach-to-grasp and
feeding/chewing systems. Behaviorally we will study reaching and grasping for food, and-to-
mouth feeding, ingestion, and mastication. We will then investigate how single neurons and
spatiotemporal patterns of neuronal activity in the orofacial area of primary motor cortex (MIof),
the arm area of primary motor cortex (MIa), and ventral premotor cortex (PMv) encode these
behaviors. We propose to study both reach-grasp and feeding systems because by comparing
cortical encoding of movement and muscle activity in the two systems we aim to identify
common principles underlying cortical control of behavior in particular coordination within and
between systems. The feeding and reach-to-grasp systems are especially appropriate for
studies of coordination because visually guided manual food acquisition (insect predation or
grasping of small fruits) is an ancient adaptive complex in primates (Roos & Martin, 2006) and
mechanisms of coordination between the systems are therefore likely to be well-developed.

Other Grants

Rebekah C. Evans, Ph.D., Georgetown University
In Vivo and Ex Vivo Dissection of Midbrain Neuron Activity During Exercise
Exercise is important for the health of the body and the mind. Exercise promotes learning and reduces symptoms of brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it…
William J. Giardino, Ph.D. Stanford University
Deciphering the Neuropeptide Circuitry of Emotional Arousal in Narcolepsy
This research project aims to investigate the neural mechanisms of a specific type of brain cell called neuropeptide neurons within a region of the brain’s amygdala network called the bed…
Howard Gritton, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Attention Mechanisms Contributing to Auditory Spatial Processing.
Our world is composed of a rich mixture of sounds. We often process sounds including speech in the presence of many other competing auditory stimuli (e.g., voices in a crowded…
Nora Kory, Ph.D., Harvard University
Elucidating the Fates and Functions of Lactate in the Brain
The human brain requires significant energy to function. Despite accounting for only 2% of our body weight, the brain consumes a substantial 20% of the body’s energy, relying on a…