Brain Prize winner to speak on brain’s control of locomotion

When you raise your foot and take a first step, you don’t have to think “right, then left, then right.” Neural circuits in your brainstem give a general command to start the movement, and circuits in your spinal cord translate that command into a precise motor pattern.  Understanding the patterns of activity that allow us to move from place to place can unveil fundamental principles of how our nervous systems generate behavior and lead to treatment for human movement disorders.

On Friday, April 14, neuroscientist Ole Kiehn will give a seminar entitled: “Brainstem circuits controlling locomotion in the healthy and diseased brain.” The talk, at 12:30 p.m. in G10 Biotechnology, is free and open to the public. 

Kiehn, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is a recipient of the 2022 Brain Prize. The world’s largest brain research prize, it is awarded each year to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to neuroscience.  
Formerly a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell, Kiehn has spent his career exploring the neuronal networks in the mammalian brainstem and spinal cord that underlie locomotion.  His lab uses novel electrophysiological and molecular techniques to explore how the intrinsic properties, connections, and timing of neurons in these circuits interact to select and produce context-dependent locomotor behavior. 

“Brainstem circuits controlling locomotion in the healthy and diseased brain” is presented by the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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