Research Abstracts Online
January 2009 - March 2010
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Department of Otolaryngology
PI: John H. Anderson
Simulating and Training Physiological-Neural Networks for the Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex
These researchers are investigating neural networks that mediate horizontal eye movements that serve to stabilize gaze during head movement (the vestibulo-ocular reflex, VOR). Neural networks that represent distinct populations of physiological neurons (100s to 1000s) and their known anatomical connections will be developed. The aims are: to identify those neurons which might be involved in a disease process causing a specific pattern of abnormal behavior of the VOR; to predict the extent to which the network could compensate for or adapt to the abnormal behavior and which neurons/pathways would be involved; and to test models for motor learning involving sensory-motor transformations and the VOR. The initial work considers horizontal eye movements and semicircular canal inputs (due to angular acceleration of the head). Future modeling will consider the 3-dimensional VOR with canal-otolith and visual-vestibular interactions and physiological motor learning and adaptation (as intrinsic properties of the network), including the role of the cerebellum.
Chris Fuller, Staff