Physiological and behavioral functions of the basal ganglia

Year of award: 2021


  • Dr Andrew Peters

    Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, United Kingdom

Project summary

Brain structures work in concert with each other, which can create a chicken-and-egg situation when trying to understand how the brain supports learning: where do learning-related changes first arise? And which connections and changes drive the new behavior? This problem is particularly relevant in a neural circuit consisting of a loop from the cortex, to the basal ganglia, to the thalamus, and back to cortex. This circuit is responsible for learning and executing myriad behaviors, but likely performs similar operations for these behaviors, such that understanding one well-defined aspect will inform a general understanding of how these structures work together. I will tackle this by studying changes in visual activity across these structures while mice learn to move an object on a screen. These experiments will contribute towards understanding how these structures work together, which in the future can be applied towards what goes wrong in disease states.