Can cortical reorganisation support adaptive behaviour?

Year of award: 2019


  • Dr Tamar Makin

    University College London

Project summary

Our brain’s capacity for reorganisation supports recovery from injury. The sensorimotor cortex is perhaps the most influential model for reorganisation in the adult brain. For example, after arm amputation, the missing-hand cortex becomes responsive to input from other body parts. However, once a cortical territory has become specialised, it is unclear whether it can change to support new functions.

I plan to characterise the conditions under which behaviourally-meaningful reorganisation can occur. I will use neuroimaging and brain stimulation to interrogate the information being stored in the missing-hand cortex of children and adults with upper-limb deficiencies. I will use high-resolution neuroimaging and computational modelling to determine how reorganisation occurs. 

A more complete understanding of the opportunities and barriers for sensorimotor reorganisation will be crucial for the future development of rehabilitation and assistive technology.