Mapping the Functional Connectivity of Motor Thalamus

Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Virtual Event

Speaker: Anatol Kreitzer, PhD, UCSF

Talk title: "Mapping the Functional Connectivity of Motor Thalamus"

Talk abstract: Classical models of basal ganglia propose bidirectional regulation of thalamocortical motor circuitry, yet the principles of motor thalamus function are not well understood. We developed methods to record from basal ganglia-recipient thalamic neurons in awake behaving mice and assess their functional connectivity with the cortex. Using forelimb position during locomotion as a primary behavioral readout, we identified robust modulation of thalamic firing during locomotor stride, which varied depending on cortical projection target. Thalamic neurons projecting to anterior cortex (M2) showed less stride modulation, whereas thalamic neurons projecting more caudally (S1/M1) were more strongly stride modulated. Stride modulation of cortical units followed a similar pattern, and stride modulation in basal ganglia-recipient thalamus was largely dependent on cortical input. Together, our data argue for multiple, segregated loops between basal ganglia recipient motor thalamus and cortex, which are driven largely by cortical activity.

Bio: Dr. Kreitzer received his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley in 1996 and his PhD in Neurobiology at Harvard University in 2001. He went on to conduct postdoctoral research at Stanford University with Dr. Robert Malenka. In 2007, he established his own laboratory at the UCSF-affiliated Gladstone Institutes focused on discovering the principles underlying the function and dysfunction of basal ganglia circuitry in both neurological and neuropsychiatric disease. His lab was among the first to apply optogenetic methods to probe the role of basal ganglia circuitry in motor control and reinforcement learning. He has made major contributions to our understanding of how distinct cell types in the basal ganglia influence adaptive motor learning. A major goal of his research is to understand and treat disorders of basal ganglia circuitry such as Parkinson’s disease, dyskinesia, and compulsive behaviors. He is a recipient of the Pew Scholar Award, the McKnight Scholar Award, and the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award.

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neuroscience, Brain Science, McGovernMIT, neurosciencemit, Brain Talk


McGovern Institute for Brain Research


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