Understanding how neuronal circuits generate complex motor behaviours is the primary driving force of our research. To elucidate the cellular mechanisms leading to such complex motor behaviors we study a variety of neuronal circuits that are adapted to generate different behaviors. We employ a variety of methods including neuroanatomical tracing, quantitative neuroanatomy immunocytochemistry, slice patch clamp physiology and in vivo intracellular recordings.
Taking advantage of motor networks that necessitate high degrees of repeatability in task execution, we specifically ask how neurons interact with each other within a given network to generate appropriate motor sequences. As sensory input is essential to a context-dependent activation of any motor activity and thus to motor patterning itself, we furthermore study a variety of sensory systems, and the interaction between sensory and motor systems. This interaction is especially important as motor signals are often used in the central nervous system to prevent self-stimulation of one’s own sensory systems during motor activity.