Sensorimotor cortex and voluntary movement
Neuroscience Major (College of Arts & Sciences)
Hannah Block (School of Public Health)
We have the ability to both sense our environment and make movements to interact with it. The sensory and motor regions of the brain interact with each other to make this possible. To better understand how this happens, and how it might go wrong in patients with impaired movement, we will study how changes in sensory areas of the brain affect motor areas in healthy people. You would help another student collect data using non-invasive brain stimulation and a simple virtual reality apparatus. This is an opportunity to gain experience with sophisticated technologies used in human behavioral and neurophysiology research.
Technology or Computational Component
This is a motor control neuroscience project involving data collection with sophisticated technology. The student will assist a PhD student and learn how non-invasive brain stimulation and behavioral research is done in humans. Specifically, the student will be trained to assist with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), neuronavigation, and electromyography (EMG). She will monitor the EMG signal for involuntary muscle contractions, record TMS coil positions in Brainsight, and adjust the stimulator settings as instructed by the PhD student who will administer the stimulation. She will also learn how to instruct and monitor subjects doing the behavioral component of the experiment, which involves a custom-built reflected rear projection apparatus and touchscreens.