Sensory and Motor Development

The cerebellum controls movement. When neural signals in the cerebellum are disrupted, people and other animals cannot precisely control their muscles and become uncoordinated, giving rise to ataxia and dystonia, and even dyslexia and autism. To understand how the cerebellum detects sensory signals from the outside world and sends signals to guide appropriate movements, we will measure the electrical and chemical signals made by brain cells in the cerebellum of zebrafish, whose cerebellum appears to work much like that of humans and other vertebrates. This information will be useful in understanding how the brain normally encodes movements and what goes wrong in cerebellar disorders.

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…