Neuroscience Institute trainee presents at the 2013 Gordon Research Seminar for Neuroethology
Bryce Chung, a neuroscience graduate student at Georgia State University, presented his research at the 2013 Gordon Research Seminar for Neuroethology and attended the associated weeklong Gordon Research Conference in West Dover, Vermont.
After returning from the conference, Bryce (pictured in front with Dr. Edwards at the conference) said, "meeting fellow researchers in the field of neuroethology was invaluable to providing perspective on my research goals. Not only was it a wave of encouragement, but also it helped to put our work in context with the work of others. Being able to converse with colleagues about their research in biomechanics made it clear that the problems we are addressing in our lab have far-reaching implications beyond the scope of locomotion in crayfish. For example, closing the loop - running real-time simulations with online sensory feedback - has held back progress in neuroethology. Recent advances in technology, including the software/hardware interface in our lab, are affording us with an opportunity to answer questions that could not be addressed previously. Meeting other researchers in the field also allowed me to see potential paths for next steps in my science career."
Research synopsis: The title of Bryce's presentation at the seminar was "Closing the Loop with Neuromechanical Simulation: Insights on the Role of Sensory Feedback In Posture and Walking." Bryce works in the lab of Dr. Don Edwards. The Edwards Lab studies study the role of sensory feedback during locomotion in crayfish. Dr. Edwards has developed new software and hardware that allows the research team to interface a computer with an in vitro preparation of a crayfish nervous system. Consequently, they are able to test the role of sensory feedback using real-time recordings and simulations. They run simulations with and without sensory feedback and then compare the results of those experiments. In their most recent studies, the Edwards lab found that sensory feedback significantly increases the bursting frequency of the motor neuron pools that control lifting and lowering of the leg. Future studies will focus on the mechanisms underlying this transition and how descending commands from the central nervous system change the intrinsic properties of the walking circuitry.