31-5 Casella Prize 2018 – Chris de Zeeuw

31-5 Casella Prize 2018 – Chris de Zeeuw

How the cerebellum can help us the way we think

Thursday 31st may 2018, h. 21
Almo Collegio Borromeo

Casella Lecture and Prize 2018

lectio magistralis

Chris De Zeeuw (info)
Vice-director Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience – Royal Dutch Academy of Arts & Sciences (KNAW), Amsterdam
Dept. of Neuroscience of Erasmus MC in Rotterdam

presentation by
Egidio U. D’Angelo

[the lecture will be held in english]




The brain can store information in persistent neural activity to remember past events and
plan future behavior. Persistent and ramping activity in frontal cortex reflects the
anticipation of specific movements. This preparatory activity has long been postulated to
emerge from processes distributed across multiple brain regions, but it has remained largely
unclear how this activity is mediated by multi-regional interactions and which brain areas
are involved. For this lecture, I will describe how a persistent representation of information
in the frontal cortex critically depends on cerebellar processing, a brain structure originally
thought to be primarily involved in online control of movement. During a sensory
discrimination task, in which mice use short-term memory to plan a future directional
movement of their tongue, they show persistent ramping activity in both their frontal cortex
and cerebellar nuclei, instructing future movements seconds before their onset. Transient
perturbations in activity of the medial cerebellar nucleus disrupt these ramping activities as
well as their choices to move their tongue in the right direction. Moreover, silencing frontal
cortex activity abolishes preparatory activity in the cerebellar nuclei affecting a closed
cortico-cerebellar loop. Finally, ongoing motor programs in this closed loop can be
altered by manipulating activity in the olivocerebellar system, resetting the planned
behavior. Together, these experiments highlight the way the cerebellum can control
cognitive behaviors that extend beyond coordination of ongoing movements.