Motor Cortex

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

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The role of microglial lysosomes in selective neuronal vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the nervous system constructs internal models of the external world
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the orchestra of movement—functional role of striatal astrocytes in health and disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…