Rune Berg says: Every day, we elegantly and effortlessly move our bodies. The brain generates the commands to contract muscles and, in this way, orchestrates the motion. But how do our brains do it? It is a fundamental part of our lives, yet we do not understand the roots and the mechanisms of how even seemingly simple movements, like walking and reaching for a cup, are produced. In this research proposal, we will investigate how different brain regions communicate with the spinal cord to produce movement sequences using new techniques. This will provide unique and crucial information to understand the nervous system, and how signals propagate across regions. Understanding the foundation of these neural circuits will not only satisfy our curiosity on how we move, but it may also explain the impact of circuit disruption from stroke or spinal cord injuries. This could introduce a path forward for a new clinical therapy for conditions where the motor circuitry is affected, like spinal cord injury and stroke.
Rune Berg is Associate Professor at the Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen.