|From speech, to breathing, to overt movement; contractions of muscles are the only way other than sweating whereby we literally make a mark on the world.|
A fundamental aspect of all movement is the ability to adjust its relative degree of precision or vigor – otherwise known as gain control. My research aims to understand cellular mechanisms of gain control in the motor system.
I am particularly interested in how ion channels and their neuromodulation influence motoneuron recruitment, which is an important gain control mechanism. I study the integration of these mechanisms during postnatal development in mice, which provides an opportune window to understand adaptive processes that contribute to the emergence of complex motor behaviours.
To address these goals, I deploy a cells-to-systems approach using in vitro preparations of the mouse spinal cord in combination with electrophysiology, microscopy, and genetic tools to identify, record and manipulate discrete populations of neurons that underlie the neuromodulatory control of movement. This fundamental mechanistic understanding will be critical to identify and harness novel therapeutic targets to combat motor dysfunction following injury and disease.
My research focuses on three primary areas:
Click the images to learn more about these research areas!
Spinal Circuit Maturation
Learn more about ongoing and past projects!
My research deploys a range of cutting-edge tools to probe spinal network function and plasticity
Solutions and code to study spinal network function in vitro can be found here
I am grateful to have received funding from the following agencies