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4 YEAR PhD IN NEUROSCIENCE

Dr. Marco Davare

Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders

Human Hand Function Lab

Skilled hand function is essential for most aspects of our daily life; it is crucial for our technology, communication and social interactions. The loss of hand function is devastating and rehabilitation would greatly benefit from a better knowledge of how the brain controls hand movements. Skilled grasp requires the brain to extract useful information from several sensory channels, in particular vision and touch. The integration of multiple sensory sources that convey signals to the brain at different times during movement is a major challenge for the motor system. In our lab, we investigate how the human brain uses information from multiple senses to plan and execute skilled hand movements. Our research addresses these issues using virtual reality environments in which vision and touch can be controlled independently: an object’s 3-D image is generated via a computer screen and a mirror, while a vivid 3-D object is simulated by robot-controlled haptic devices connected to the hand. This paradigm provides an excellent basis to apply brain stimulation (TMS) and imaging (fMRI) techniques to shed light on the brain circuits involved in multisensory integration for action.

The specific projects can be adapted to suit individual student requirements wherever possible. Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE PROJECTS

1) How visual and haptic information influences the control of grasping movements. Evidence from healthy volunteers and patients suffering from movement disorders (behavioural and TMS studies).

2) Which specialised cortical subcircuits contribute to multisensory integration for action (fMRI and TMS studies).

3) Investigate physiological interactions in the cortical grasping circuit and therefore show how sensory information is transferred in the brain (functional connectivity, TMS studies).

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Davare M, Kraskov A, Rothwell JC, Lemon RN, Interactions between areas of the cortical grasping network. Curr Opinion in Neurobiology. 2011 Aug;21(4):565-70.

Loh MN, Kirsch L, Rothwell JC, Lemon RN, Davare M, Information about the weight of grasped objects from vision and from internal models interacts within the primary motor cortex. J Neurosci. 2010 May 19;30(20):6984-90.

Davare M, Rothwell JC, Lemon RN, Causal connectivity between the human anterior intraparietal area and premotor cortex during grasp. Current Biology. 2010 Jan 26;20(2):176-81.

MORE: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ion/departments/sobell/Research/MDavare

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