Research Fellows Directory
Professor Richard Apps
University of Bristol
The cerebellum is a major centre in the brain that is vital for movement control and may also be involved in cognition.
However, the exact nature of how the cerebellum performs its varied functions remains an issue of considerable uncertainty and debate. Purkinje cells (PCs) are central to cerebellar cortical information processing and discharge two distinct types of impulse: simple spikes and complex spikes. PCs directly inhibit the neurones of the cerebellar nuclei which, in turn, influence activity in other parts of the brain. Impulse traffic in the cortico-nuclear pathway is thus central to cerebellar operations. A fundamental gap in our understanding of how the cerebellum makes its contribution to behaviour is the way PC activity is translated into activity in the cerebellar nuclei. The experiments in this Fellowship bring together the latest cell-specific optogenetic technology and in vivo electrophysiological recording methods to determine how PC activity modifies cerebellar nuclear function.