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Cortical interactions underlying the selection of actions


Research into the functional architecture of the human brain is increasingly focusing on the interaction between separate modules in the brain. Rather than labelling brain functions to neural structures on a one-to-one basis, it is now recognised that any cognitive function is the result of the combined activity in different regions of the brain.

Consequently, the question of how activity in one part of the brain influences another part of the brain (the effective connectivity) is rapidly becoming the central focus of research today. The proposed project will focus on the effective connectivity in the motor system. Using a novel technique for assessing effective connectivity (paired-pulse TMS) test participants will be asked to perform a variety of movements.

Successful performance on these tasks is suggested to depend on the interaction between various motor-related regions in the human brain. The project will focus both on healthy participants and patients recovering from stroke, in which communication, and thus the connectivity, within the motor system is suggested to be impaired. The goal of the project is to gain insights into the functional connectivity underlying the selection of actions in the human brain.

The project will allow a young and talented researcher with a background in neuroimaging of the brain and motor system to acquaint himself with the study of effective connectivity using paired-pulse TMS. He will work in a laboratory that has a well-established reputation in the development and application of novel methods for the study of cortical interactions.

Apart from allowing the researcher to acquire a number of new fundamental and clinically oriented research skills, this project will also allow him to further integrate into the international scientific community by deepening and broadening his knowledge and skills, and to develop the management skills needed for a career as an independent researcher at the senior level.

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