Our perceptions of the world, our coordinated motor actions, and our conscious and subconscious thoughts all arise from distinctive patterns of neural activity within the brain. One goal in neuroscience is to understand how the constituent parts of the brain function as an integrated system. This exciting problem is being actively studied in many of our laboratories. The focus of these studies includes analyses of the organizational and processing properties of the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, spinal cord and autonomic nervous system. Most of this work is carried out on laboratory animals, where it is possible to analyze the physiological and anatomical characteristics of the nervous system in detail. Understanding how the nervous system generates a wide repertoire of behaviors through use of computational strategies and underlying neural architectures provides the foundation for development of therapies to treat clinical disorders ranging from hypertension to Parkinson’s disease and other motor diseases.
Matt Sarkisian, Ph.D.
Wolfgang J. Streit, Ph.D.