Meeting Abstract

S7-2.2  Jan. 6  Reflections on integrative and comparative approaches in movement neuroscience STUART, D.G.; University of Arizona, Tucson

Integrative movement neuroscience involves blending "inside-out" and "outside-in" approaches in the study of posture and movement. The former is characterized by determining the properties of single cells within the central nervous system (CNS) and then testing for how these properties influence the operation of CNS microcircuits, single reflexes, groups of reflexes, and central pattern generators. This information is then used to theorize on CNS control of overt motor behavior. In contrast, the outside-in approach begins with analysis of the biomechanics of posture and movement and then uses this information to theorize on how the mechanics are solved by the CNS and its pathways, circuitry, and even single cells. Studies conducted in the 1960s on the locomotion of brain-stimulated decerebrate cats together with in-parallel advances in the study of locomotor pattern-generating CNS circuitry in several invertebrate and vertebrate species have led to a convergence of outside-in and inside-out understanding of the neural control of locomotion in invertebrates, non-mammalian vertebrates, and mammalian vertebrates, including even humans. This convergence of integrative and comparative approaches has been facilitated by modeling and simulation studies. These developments have important implications for PhD and postdoctoral training programs in movement neuroscience. They can profit greatly by use of a multidisciplinary university-wide faculty that places a strong emphasis on integrative and comparative biology. Furthermore, the next generation of movement neuroscientists will require more familiarity with modeling and simulation theory and techniques than are being provided in most current training programs.