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Understanding motor cortex in theory and practice - Mark Churchland

October 15, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Seminar Series Presents


Churchland, Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute


Mark Churchland, PhD 

Co-director, Grossman Center for the Statistics of Mind
Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience

Host: Krishna Shenoy

Churchland Lab

Curriculum vitae


The brain is not only a remarkable computational organ – capable of feats that stymie the best computers and robots – it is the seat of who we are and all we think.  Yet despite such romantic notions, modern systems neuroscience has principally asked how the brain transforms inputs into outputs.  This approach has deep historical roots – Descartes, Sherrington – and fabulous modern successes – Mountcastle, Hubel and Wiesel.  Yet the brain is clearly more than a glorified input-output device.  The neural networks within it do not just respond to external stimuli, they also generate their own activity.  A principal goal of my laboratory is to study the neural dynamics responsible for this ability.  In particular, I study how primary motor cortex generates the rich temporal patterns of neural activity that are responsible for moving the body.  My laboratory also focuses on translating basic science knowledge regarding dynamics into better ‘neural prostheses’: brain-machine interfacesthat directly translate neural activity into movement, thus bypassing an injured limb or spinal cord


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Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
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