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Control of Actions: Investigating the ability of the human brain to flexibly integrate relevant contextual dimensions into appropriate actions
Denmark (IMCC) - Copenhagen University, Copenhagen
Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre
Professor H. Siebner
Professor H. Siebner and other members of the ContAct Research group
English, Danish, Swedish
Type of Research Project
- Clinical Project with Laboratory work
What is the background of the project?
ContAct is a research group funded by a grant of excellence from the Lundbeck-Foundation, given to Prof. Hartwig Siebner for the period of 2011-2015. It is divided into six workpackages which use different methods and tackle different aspects of the CONTrol of ACTion. We investigate the ability of the human brain to flexibly integrate relevant contextual dimensions into appropriate actions. A better understanding of the neural mechanisms mediating such a flexible control of actions is of central relevance to neuroscience. The groups research represents a critical step towards a mechanistic understanding of the brain networks supporting the flexible control of actions.
What is the aim of the project?
In collaboration with several clinical departments we will study chronic stroke patients with lesions in the cerebellum or basal ganglia to investigate how predictive control of actions is impaired and how the reorganization of connectivity at a systems level supports the recovery of function. Studies in patients with Parkinsons disease will reveal how dopaminergic nigro-striatal degeneration affects the predictive, inhibitory and intentional control of actions.
What techniques and methods are used?
It's research program integrates advanced brain mapping, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), pattern classification and advanced modeling to identify neural interactions that determine predictive, inhibitory and intentional aspects of action control. Since these are often severely affected in neurological and psychiatric diseases, their identification will be of great value for defining targets for future therapeutic interventions aiming at restoring action control in patients (e.g. Parkinson disease or stroke). Juvenile patients with eating disorders or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and adult patients with focal hand dystonia and major depression will serve as human disease models of deficient inhibition of automatic response tendencies (ADHD) and altered intentional motor control (eating disorder, depression).
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
- The student has the possibility to actively participate in experiments on motor control involving transcranial magnetic stimulation - electroencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
There will be theoretical teaching provided
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a presentation
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
The student should have moderate programming skills and interest in participating in scientific experiments involving human volunteers (healthy controls or patients).
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Graduated students (less than 6 months)
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