Research and Initiatives

We investigate information processing and learning in the cerebellum and prefrontal cortex. The levels of analysis are:
1) experimental techniques: behavioral studies, reversible lesions and in vivo recordings of neural activity related to eyelid conditioning
2) large-scale computer simulations of the cerebellum.
Eyelid conditioning: The cerebellum contributes to our ability to make accurate movements through experience. We study a tractable example of motor learning — delay eyelid conditioning in rabbits and mice — to study the mechanisms of this learning. We also use trace eyelid conditioning in rabbits and mice to study learning in prefrontal cortex and to study interactions between prefrontal cortex and cerebellum.
Computer simulations: The cerebellum is especially amenable to analysis using computer simulations, due to the relatively simple way it is engaged by motor learning and to its well known and simple synaptic organization. We use large-scale simulations designed to reflect as accurately as possible key properties of the cerebellum to
1) test hypotheses regarding network properties of the cerebellum,
2) identify key experiments, and
3) as an overall index of our understanding of cerebellar mechanisms of motor learning.