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Genetics and function of neuronal circuits controlling goal oriented movements (Space and Motion)
Start date: Jan 1, 2016, End date: Dec 31, 2020 PROJECT  ONGOING 

With this proposal I plan to dissect, at the genetic level, those circuits controlling goal-oriented movements in mice. In particular, we will focus on the very feature that makes goal-oriented movements so unique in the world of motor control, the spatial awareness of such movements, the fact that their execution is likely to obey a precise metric. I want to understand: (1) which neuronal circuits promote the initiation of targeted-movement and assess the genetic heterogeneity of these circuits. (2) Characterise the function of genetically identified circuit elements during movement execution, with the aim of understanding how the metric of motion is encoded. (3) Investigate how sensory maps and motor maps are aligned during development and probe their plasticity. In prospective (4), we aim to understand how changes in such circuits impinge on the development and evolution of innate behaviours such as predation. The French mathematician Henry Poincaré wrote that ‘The real space is motor space’. Embedded in this idea is the intimate relation between the perceptual encoding of space and motor execution. Accordingly, our research starts at the motor level and aims to move to the perceptual level.
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