Executing successful movements requires the brain to predict the consequences of actions. It is believed that the brain builds internal models of our body and the environment in order to simulate the sensory and motor outcomes of movements.
Due to the constant changes in our body and environment (for instance, those due to fatigue, tool-use, or disease) these models require constant re-calibration, called motor adaptation, to keep us moving in predictable ways.
Where in the brain these models reside, how they are formed, and how they are updated following bodily or environmental changes remains unclear.
The goal of the laboratory is to reverse engineer the neural circuits that drive adaptive motor behavior. We hope that by understanding the neural basis of adaptive motor control we can open new avenues in therapeutic research for neurological disease and provide fundamental insights into brain function.
Novel mouse paradigms for studying adaptive motor control
We believe behavior is an essential component to understanding neural function.
We have developed a set of skilled motor tasks where mice can learn from a dynamically changing sensory landscape. By combining concepts from optimal motor control with the power of the mouse's genetics and accessibility, our lab aims to uncover fundamental principles that guide motor adaptation, learning, and control.
We are using and building on the latest techniques in 2-photon and deep brain imaging (including utilizing multi-area imaging with a 2-photon mesoscope), to uncover the neural correlates of adaptive behavior. We use optogenetics and chemogenetics to test what roles diverse areas have during behavior. Furthermore, we develop computational models to generate testable hypotheses and analyze our data. Lastly, we aim to develop new robotics for the mouse community. Taken together, we aim to better understand how multiple areas interact to facilitate adaptive motor control.
Mackenzie Mathis, PhD Principal Investigator | Rowland Fellow firstname.lastname@example.org Office Location: 3rd Floor, 308 Google Scholar
I received my BSc from the University of Oregon, then worked in the labs of Hynek Wichterle and Christopher Henderson at Columbia University to build in vitro models of ALS. I then attended Harvard University for my PhD, where I worked in the laboratory of Nao Uchida investigating the role of reward and sensory prediction errors in guiding motor learning. Before starting at the Rowland, I was a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Matthias Bethge (University of Tübingen). In the News: RJF position, Peralta Prize, NSF Fellowship
Melody Tong Undergraduate Researcher|Harvard College Class of '18
Melody is co-mentored by Mackenzie and Nao Uchida. Her thesis work is focused on quantitative behavioral metrics during a rapidly learned freely-moving reaching & pulling task in mice.
Alexander studied Mathematics at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. For his dissertation he derived properties of grid cells from optimal coding principles. As a Marie-Curie Fellow, he works on trail tracking in mice with Venki Murthy (MCB, Harvard) and Matthias Bethge (University of Tübingen). He collaborates closely with us on computational models of motor adaptation and learning. He strives to understand how internal representations guide behavior and how internal models are implemented in the brain.
Coming in 2018: Postdoctoral Fellow & Visiting Masters Student
Travis collaborates on building neural models of adaptive control.
Nicolas Renier, PhD Collaborator|Group leader at Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière Publications & lab website
Nicolas' lab specializes in developing and using ClearMap for whole-brain light sheet microscopy and analysis.
September 1st, 2017
The lab doors are open!
Our very talented friend, Taiga Abe, who completed his Harvard College thesis (Analysis and modeling of movement kinematics in a mouse model of motor adaptation) with Mackenzie, Alexander, and Nao, started his PhD graduate studies at Columbia University today! Congratulations!
We will be presenting new work at NCMDub this week! Stop by our poster cluster to learn more about our past and future work.
come see our poster at COSYNE 2017! Somatosensory cortex plays an essential role in forelimb motor adaptation in mice Mathis, M.W., Mathis, A., Uchida, N. (2017). Cosyne Abstracts 2017, Salt Lake City USA
It's official! The lab will open at the Rowland Sept 1st!
We gratefully acknowledge the funding sources that make our research possible: