The cellular basis of information processing in a cerebellar microcircuit


  • Prof Robin Angus SilverĀ 

    University College London

Project summary

Knowlege about how the brain represents, processes and stores information about the body and its surroundings and how it coordinates movements is important for understanding neurological disorders and developing strategies to cure them. Our understanding of information processing within neuronal circuits is poor, because of the technical difficulty of studying them.

We have recently invented a 3D microscope that can measure signals as they rapidly flow through complex neural circuits deep in the brain. We will use this technology to measure signalling in identified neuronal circuits in the cerebellar cortex, a brain region involved in the control of movement. By relating sensory inputs and limb movements to neuronal population activity we will determine how sensory and motor information is represented, distinguished and transformed in this circuit. We will also study the synaptic and cellular mechanisms that underlie signalling by using electrophysiological and optical techniques. These measurements will be used to build mathematical models of the cerebellar circuit, enabling us to understand how they underlie information processing.

This research will lead to new discoveries and scientific knowledge that will be valuable in its own right and will provide a framework for understanding what goes wrong in neurological disorders.