From single cell to whole
organism, I have utilized several animal models and multiple neuroscientific
techniques to explore a core question in neurophysiology: how does the brain transform sensory stimuli into motor output.
I plan to integrate these techniques in order to address this question in human
subjects undergoing deep brain stimulation surgery.
My lab will
study a neural circuit involved in sensory-motor integration/transformation in
humans that has significant clinical relevance for motor pathologies using the
research techniques I’ve acquired during my training.
I plan to use a) behavioral paradigms
: to control a subject’s goal and
assess neuroanatomical manipulations, b)
: to trace the nodes of the neural circuits associated with
the behavioral paradigm, c) electrophysiology
to record neuronal activity with high spatial and temporal resolution, d) computational methods
mine and manipulate large data sets, uncover interesting patterns, and model
I plan to extend
my recent work with in-vivo behaving recordings in the basal ganglia of mice to
explore the role of the SNr (substantia nigra pars reticulata; a node in the
basal ganglia) in transforming a sensory cue into a motor decision in humans. Initially, I will have two main directions: 1) Determine the role that the SNr
plays in transforming sensory cues into motor decisions. In this aim, I will
record in the SNr while subjects perform a sensory discrimination motor task. 2) I will examine the plasticity of
learned sensory-motor associations in the SNr, by using a sensory-motor task
that compares visually guided vs. memory guided decision-making.