Research Areas

Sensory and Motor Systems

Animals must be able to perceive and interact with the world around them to survive. Much of the brain is, therefore, dedicated to receiving and processing sensory information and co-ordinating movement. One of the most important questions remaining in neuroscience is how individual neurons function in the integrated neuronal networks that underlie sensation across sensory modalities, facilitate movement and co-ordinate the complex interplay between sensory and motor regions of the brain.

Researchers in the sensory and motor systems theme study how the brain allows us to see, hear, feel, taste and smell, as well as how neuronal networks in the brain and spinal cord plan, initiate, coordinate and execute movements. Like all the research themes in NMHI, researchers in the Sensory and Motor Systems theme use an interdisciplinary approach in humans, animal models and in-vitro preparations to understand the structure and function of sensorimotor networks in the healthy, diseased or damaged brain and spinal cord.

Techniques used include:

  • behavioural training and testing
  • computational neuroscience
  • cell culture
  • organotypic culture
  • quantitative immunoassays
  • in-vivo functional and structural imaging
  • cellular neuroimaging
  • confocal and multiphoton microscopy
  • fluorescent and light microscopy
  • electrophysiology
  • gene arrays
  • RT-PCR
  • histochemistry