[ONOS Seminar Series] Professor Jimmy Dooley : How movements during sleep teach infant brains how their bodies move


Thursday, April 20, 2023 - 10:00




OIST Neuroscience Club is excited to host Prof. Jimmy Dooley from the department of biological sciences, Purdue University, USA. If you are interested in knowing how slight twitchy movements during your sleep in your infancy shape your brain,  make sure to join the seminar! here is the abstract of the talk: 

 How movements during sleep teach infant brains how their bodies move 

Professor Jimmy Dooley 

Department of biological sciences, Purdue University, USA.


Infants continually explore and interact with the world around them, and these experiences are critical for how they learn to move. Generally, it’s assumed that infants gain the experience that matters when awake, but my research calls this assumption into question. In this talk, I will describe how self-generated movements, particularly the twitches produced during REM sleep, drive activity that promotes the development of the sensorimotor system, including the primary motor cortex (M1). Notably, M1 is not responsible for producing movements in early infancy; instead, the infant M1 responds like a sensory structure. First, I will review evidence that throughout early infancy, twitches preferentially drive experience-dependent plasticity, establishing a sensory foundation for M1’s later-emerging motor functions. Next, based on work in weanling rats, I describe how twitches contribute to the development of a prediction system, or internal model of movement, that provides real-time estimates of the body’s position in space. This enables the execution of precise movements without having to rely on relatively sluggish sensory feedback. Finally, I will conclude by describing ongoing experiments that examine the role of sleep and twitches in enabling M1 to develop the motor features that give it its name, laying the groundwork for a new understanding of how sleep contributes to sensorimotor development.

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