Department of Biomedical Engineering
Friday, October 25, 2013
Olin Engineering Center, Room 202
Aaron Suminski, Ph.D.
Research Associate (Assistant Professor)
Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago
Context-dependent coding of motor behavior in
primary motor and premotor cortices
We often take the ability to move for granted because the complexities of interacting with our environment are masked by the reliability of motor behavior. This behavioral consistency is remarkable given the many factors that must be taken into consideration when moving the limb and manipulating objects (i.e. the task context), including the fidelity of sensory feedback and the state of the limb. In this talk I will describe the results of separate experiments that examine how neural activity in the primary motor and premotor cortices are modified in response to changes in task context. Using multi-electrode arrays chronically implanted in the cerebral cortex of rhesus macaques, I will show that the presence of multi-sensory feedback (i.e. vision and proprioception) recruits separate populations of neurons in motor cortex that drive performance improvements observed while subjects use a neuroprosthetic device. Finally, using both empirical data and a network model, I will demonstrate that both premotor and motor cortices have an intimate knowledge of the current state of the limb, modifying their coding properties to compensate for changing muscle dynamics as the limb begins to move.