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Research Areas

Dr. David Zee:
Dr. Zee's laboratory has a major research focus on the cerebellum and its role in control of eye movements. His group is specifically are interested in how the cerebellum contributes to normal learning new motor behaviors, and to adaptation to disease in the eye movement system. Their overarching goals are to understand how the brain learns and how learning might be promoted in patients, and especially cerebellar patients, so as to improve their vision and ability to move their eyes accurately. Their research tools include the study of eye movements of normal subjects and cerebellar patients, the study of learning processes in normal subjects and cerebellar patients, and how artificial stimulation of the cerebellum might improve eye movement control and improve visual function.

Dr. Reza Shadmehr:
The work in the Shadmehr Lab uses mathematics, robotics, and brain imaging to precisely quantify the function of the cerebellum during voluntary movements. The lab has developed specialized equipment to examine movements of the arm and the eyes. The aim of the work is to not only better understand the basic function of the cerebellum, but to help cerebellar patients recover some of the lost function through focused training of the remaining, healthy portions of the brain.

Dr. Amy Bastian:
Dr. Bastian and her colleagues study the movements of adults and children who have cerebellar damage or disease. Her group is interested in understanding why movement patterns become faulty (ataxic), as well as if and why different treatments can mitigate ataxia. She is also actively studying how new movements are "learned" in individuals with and without ataxia.

Her lab employs several techniques to quantify movement including: 3-dimensional tracking and reconstruction of movement, recordings of muscle activity, force plate recordings, and calculation of joint forces and torques. These techniques allow for very precise measurements of many different types of movements including: walking, reaching, leg movements, hand movements and standing balance. The quantitative information gained from her studies make it possible to detect very small changes in movement performance over time or with treatment.

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