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Comprehensive anatomical, genetic and functional identification of cerebellar nuclei neurons and their roles in sensorimotor tasks

Objective

How does the brain integrate diverse sensory inputs and generate appropriate motor commands? Our cerebellum is a key region for such a sensorimotor processing, empowered by its sophisticated neural computation and constant communication with other brain regions. The well-timed cerebellar information is integrated and funneled to other brain regions through the cerebellar nuclei (CN). Yet, how CN circuitry contributes to the cerebellar control of sensorimotor processing is unclear. My recent work indicates that the CN activity serves various functions ranging from the online motor control, the amplitude amplification of cerebellar outputs to the control of motor planning. Given these advances, I am now in a unique position to decipher the properties of CN neurons and identify their specific roles in different forms of sensorimotor processing. It is my central hypothesis that depending on the specific demands of the task, CN neurons can either facilitate or suppress the activity of downstream regions with millisecond precision; and the anatomical, genetic and functional properties of CN neurons are tailored to the particular task involved. To test this hypothesis, I will 1) identify the activity patterns of different CN modules during the acquisition and execution of two sensorimotor tasks and characterize the relevant extra-cerebellar inputs to these modules; 2) identify the connectivity-transcription logic of different CN modules and link them to their task-specific outputs; and 3) examine the impacts of manipulating anatomically and/or genetically defined CN neurons on the downstream regions during different sensorimotor tasks. I will accomplish these key objectives by developing various novel electrophysiological, optogenetic, molecular and imaging techniques. My research is likely to break new ground, demonstrating that the identity of CN neurons is determined by their differential temporal demands of sensorimotor tasks controlled by different brain structures.
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Host institution

ERASMUS UNIVERSITAIR MEDISCH CENTRUM ROTTERDAM

Address

Dr Molewaterplein 40
3015 Gd Rotterdam

Netherlands

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 400 000

Beneficiaries (1)

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ERASMUS UNIVERSITAIR MEDISCH CENTRUM ROTTERDAM

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 1 400 000

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 852869

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 November 2019

  • End date

    31 October 2024

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 400 000

  • EU contribution

    € 1 400 000

Hosted by:

ERASMUS UNIVERSITAIR MEDISCH CENTRUM ROTTERDAM

Netherlands