Control of limb movements by motor cortical circuit dynamics

Year of award: 2016


  • Dr Guillaume Hennequin

    University of Cambridge

Project summary

The control of limb movements has been investigated but a unified theoretical understanding of how limbs are controlled by collective neuronal dynamics is lacking.

We will use an analysis-by-synthesis approach to relate the dynamics of the motor cortex to the computational objective of limb control. In this pilot project, we will make use of developments in the fields of stochastic optimal control and optimisation to build model cortical networks that control reaching movements in the presence of noise at all processing stages and under key physiological constraints inherent to brain circuits. We will then dissect the strategies used by the model networks to achieve robust control of limb trajectories, relate the model's activity to cortical electrophysiology, and use the models to guide future experiments.

In the long term, such models will provide unique insights into the dynamics of the motor cortex and suggest optimal ways to restore lost function via closed-loop neuroprosthetics.