Research Area B Key Mechanisms of Motor Control across Lifespan

Project B01: Developmental mechanisms affecting motor skills and motor control

The influence of ion channel mutations on higher motor functions during brain maturation will be assessed in cortico – basal-ganglia – thalamus loops using genetic mouse models, c-Fos expression mapping, and in-vivo electrophysiological recordings combined with fibre photometry of dopaminergic axons. Besides, pharmacological and chemogenetic manipulations of neuronal activity will be tested timed to vulnerable windows of brain development, potentially leading to new treatment strategies for developmental disorders.

Dirk Isbrandt │ Jochen Roeper

Project B02: Neural network maturation underlying top-down motor control and movement initiation in childhood and adolescence

Project B02 investigates motor network maturation in children and adolescents. Multi-channel EEG source localisation, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and functional magnetic resonance imaging will be used to unravel how emerging frontal cortical activation accomplishes improved motor control and how disturbed maturation leads to involuntary tic movements.

Stephan Bender  Kerstin Konrad

Project B03: Modelling neural network dynamics underlying movements in health and disease

Using computational models based on data from modalities that yield high temporal as well as spatial resolution (EEG and MEG), the causal role of cortical network connectivity in motor control will be analysed. The models will help to understand the neurobiological basis of actions, how ageing and neurological diseases impair the coordinated interaction between cortical motor areas, and how changes in network node activity and connectivity relate to impaired motor behaviour. The simulation results may thus inform the development of novel treatment strategies for neurological diseases by the remedy of dysfunctional network activity.

Silvia Daun  Gereon R. Fink

Project B04: Motor control under uncertainty in the healthy human brain

Project B04 analyses motor network changes depending on the predictability/uncertainty of an intended motor response in younger and older volunteers. Using a combination of computational modelling of behaviour, fMRI, and novel connectivity models, this project will focus on how uncertainty about upcoming motor responses is estimated, how this affects the activity of the brain’s motor control networks, and how simulated lesions may cause disruption of flexible motor behaviour.

Simone Vossel  Paola Mengotti

Project B05: Single-case predictions of motor abilities in health and disease

Project B05 explores the neurobiological basis of inter-individual differences in motor functions based on MRI and fMRI by training multivariate statistical learning models and evaluating their accuracy for predicting individual motor functions in previously unseen subjects. The resulting models will describe the neurobiology of inter-individual differences, also considering ageing. They will be extended to patients with ischemic strokes through novel transfer-learning approaches, thereby offering new insights into the pathophysiology underlying motor impairment and recovery of function.

Simon Eickhoff  Christian Grefkes