Revealing how value is translated into action with simultaneous single neuron and multi-area resolution

2019 Seed Grant
Eric Yttri, Ph.D.
Carnegie Mellon University

Without movements, we are relegated to being trapped inside ourselves. Our understanding of the distributed brain circuits responsible for deciding what, how and why to perform movements has been limited by an inability to characterize how distributed networks of interlinked neurons orchestrate behavior. Recent advances have provided tantalizing glimpses into the spatial and temporal structure of the computations that local circuits perform. Unfortunately, these methods often lack the multi-scale, mutli-cell type, and temporal resolution necessary to discern the neural infrastructure of movement decisions. To address this problem, we propose to apply complimentary, novel approaches to establish how neurons across brain areas work together to create behavior, from the level of the single neuron to that of interconnected brain areas. By identified cell-types recording throughout all layers of motor cortex and striatum simultaneously, we are able to capture a detailed account of the evolving flow of information through the neural network. We will test our predictive model of motor decision mechanisms against these results, and in doing so, define a computational role for each cell type across the circuit.

Other Grants

Rebekah C. Evans, Ph.D., Georgetown University
In Vivo and Ex Vivo Dissection of Midbrain Neuron Activity During Exercise
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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…