Seminars are open to all visitors and start Monday at 17:00 sharp. The seminar series lectures are in the Querido Room (unless specified otherwise) on the third floor of the Education Center of Erasmus MC.
Basal ganglia circuits for the vigorous pursuit of reward
|2017-05-01||Room: Querido Lecture Hall|
My group combines quantitative behavior, neurophysiology, cell-type specific perturbation of neural activity, and computational modeling to understand how the brain controls purposive behavior. A voluntary, purposive action requires one to extract information from experience, plan and select an action, and execute the requisite movements to obtain a desired outcome. We study a critical nexus where inference, planning, and execution are integrated to control volition - basal ganglia. Basal ganglia are an interconnected set of subcortical nuclei found, unchanged in its core circuitry, in all vertebrates. Its primary input nucleus, striatum, receives input from the entire neocortex. Its primary output nuclei, e.g. substantia nigra, send re-entrant projections to thalamus as well as convergent descending projections to premotor areas. I will argue in my seminar that corticostriatal input strength determines the gain applied to motor commands via convergent basal ganglia output projections. History-dependent changes in this input adapt movement vigor for efficient reward collection and disruptions of this learning following dopamine depletion can quantitatively account for bradykinesia - a cardinal feature of Parkinson’s disease.