Whether it is for tying one’s shoe laces or exploring the iPhone, we need to continuously practice new movements and acquire novel motor skills. Frontal cortex is one of the key brain areas participating in coordinating and learning of voluntary movements. Despite decades of research this brain area remains poorly understood.
The general aim of our lab is to use a series of innovative optical imaging methods, such as in vivo two-photon microscopy with fluorescent activity indicators, to record neuronal activity in the motor cortex with single cell resolution and thereby gain a better understanding of the exact neuronal network dynamics underlying decision making and motor control.
The neuronal recordings are followed up by optical gain and loss of function experiments where circuit function is perturbed in the awake behaving animal to determine the contribution of these neurons in specific behaviors.
We use mice as model system since they are great manipulators and give us access to a wide variety of important molecular tools and to well established models of motor diseases.
These experiments in rodents will ultimately help us to understand some of the basic neuronal mechanisms that govern our own actions, enabling us to solve new challenges.