Context-specific dynamics of skilled movement control and tools for large scale electrophysiology
Performing two skills, requires differences in the typical motor output as well as different feedback-driven adjustments. The motor cortex plays a key role in generating motor output, but the extent and nature of its role in performing computations underlying skill-specific feedback control is not well understood. To address this, we combined a context-dependent force production task in rhesus macaque monkeys with large scale recordings from the motor cortex and basal ganglia using Neuropixels-NHP. Population activity throughout the motor system strongly reflects both context and motor output, even when motor outputs are identical across contexts. Context-dependent activity may enable transformation of sensory inputs into appropriate motor corrections. Speculatively, the motor cortex may leverage a vast volume of a high-dimensional neural space to store a large repertoire of distinct motor skills. Combining these technological and scientific advances holds promise for clinical brain-computer interfaces to treat neurological injuries, disorders and disease.
Eric Trautmann is a postdoctoral scholar at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, where he works with Mark Churchland, Michael Shadlen, and Daniel Wolpert. His research is focused at the intersection of engineering and neuroscience, with two primary objectives. The first is to develop tools and techniques that enable brain-wide recording with single-cell resolution in monkeys and humans. The second is to utilize these tools to investigate how numerous brain regions coordinate to perform neural computations underlying complex cognition and motor control. Collectively, this work aims to facilitate the development of clinical brain-computer interfaces for the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of neurological disorders and diseases.
About the Wu Tsai Neuro MBCT Seminar Series The Stanford Center for Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology Seminars (MBCT) explores ways in which computational and technical approaches are being used to advance the frontiers of neuroscience. It features speakers from other institutions, Stanford faculty and senior training program trainees.