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Chemnitz / Berlin - Okazaki

German - Japanese Collaboration in Computational Neuroscience

The function and role of Basal Ganglia pathways: From single to multiple loops (funded by DFG and JST)

Basal ganglia contribute to a variety of cognitive and motor functions which are formed through trialand- error learning. With cortex and thalamus, they build an architecture of parallel but interacting loops. Guided by predictions of an existing computational model of cortico-basalganglia-thalamo-cortical processing (Vitay & Hamker, 2010; Schroll, Vitay & Hamker, 2012), we will perform electrophysiological experiments to solve two important yet unresolved empirical questions:

1) How does the external segment of globus pallidus contribute to basal ganglia processing and

2) How do separate basal ganglia loops that support motor planning and motor execution coherently interact?

Based on our empirical findings, we will then extend the computational model to fully capture basal ganglia connectivity both within and between loops. Towards a clinical perspective, we will afterwards systematically apply lesions and functional alterations to this model and study their effects on overt model behavior in a set of cognitive and motor tasks. At the same time, we will apply these same tasks to patients of basal ganglia disorders that are yet poorly understood with regard to their neuronal causes (e.g. dystonia, Huntington’s disease, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s syndrome and essential tremor). Those model alterations and lesions that - across tasks - reproduce the patients’ behavioral deficits will provide insights into the neuronal dysfunctions underlying these disorders.


The following scientists take part in this collaboration:

  • Prof. Fred Henrik Hamker, Chemnitz University of Technology
  • Prof. Andrea Kühn, Charité Universitätsklinikum, Campus Virchow-Klinikum (CVK), Berlin
  • Dr. Atsushi Nambu, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Okazaki, Japan


German Coordinator:

Prof. Fred Henrik Hamker
Technische Universität Chemnitz
Fakultät für Informatik
Straße der Nationen   62  
09111 Chemnitz

Tel.: +49 (0) 371 531-37875