Columbia University in the City of New York

Nov 29, 20224:00 pm

Columbia Neuroscience Seminar - Sten Grillner

The Brain in Action – through the lens of evolution

November 29th, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm at the Jerome L. Greene Science Center (9th floor lecture hall)


Sten Grillner MD, PhD

Department of Neuroscience

Karolinska Institute

The Brain in Action – through the lens of evolution

The varied motor repertoire of all vertebrates is to a large degree coordinated by discrete motor circuits in the midbrain, brainstem and spinal cord, like saccadic eye movements, reaching or locomotion. These circuits are responsible for the execution of movements. The task of the forebrain including the basal ganglia and cortex is on the other hand preferentially to select which motor circuits should be active at any given point of time (through direct excitation or disinhibition). The building blocks of these forebrain circuits and the downstream motor centers are to a surprising degree very similar in lampreys, representing the oldest group of now living vertebrates and mammals, the evolutionary lines of which became separate already around 500 million years ago. This suggests that the basic design of the circuits controlling action evolved very early in vertebrate evolution and have remained practically unchanged. The behavioral repertoire has increased with the addition of new circuits for the appendages but the structure of the control having remained similar. I will discuss the underlying evidence and concepts.


Host Information:

Claire Everett [email protected]
Eliza Jaeger [email protected]

The Columbia Neuroscience Seminar series is a collaborative effort of Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, the Department of Neuroscience, the Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior and the Columbia Translational Neuroscience Initiative, and with support from the Kavli Institute for Brain Science.


Connect with us