We all interact with the world by actions. Organisms have the amazing capability to learn, select and execute the appropriate actions in the ever-changing environment. Understanding how the brain generates actions thus lies in the core of understanding the neural basis of adaptive behavior and intelligence. Basal ganglia consist of a group of interconnected nuclei deep in the brain involved in sensory, motor and cognitive functions. Numerous motor and mental disorders from Parkinson's disease to obsessive-compulsive disorder have been linked to the dysfunction of basal ganglia circuits.
Our lab employs a vast array of tools, including quantitative behavior, genetics and optogenetics, in vivo physiological and optical techniques to dissect the neural circuits and molecular mechanisms underlying action learning and selection in freely behaving mice. We hope to characterize the fundamental principles of how the brain learns and generates actions from multiple levels of analysis, and provide insights into action-related neurological and psychiatric diseases.
Cui G., Jun S.B., Jin X., Pham M.D., Vogel S.S., Lovinger D.M. and Costa R.M. (2013) Concurrent activation of striatal direct and indirect pathways during action initiation. Nature 494: 238-242.
French C.A., Jin X., Campbell T.G., Gerfen E., Groszer M., Fisher S.E., and Costa R.M. (2012) An aetiological Foxp2 mutation causes aberrant striatal activity and alters plasticity during skill learning. Molecular Psychiatry 17: 1077-1085.
Koralek A.C.*, Jin X.*, Long II J.D., Costa R.M., and Carmena J.M. (2012) Corticostriatal plasticity is necessary for learning intentional neuroprosthetic skills. Nature 483: 331-335. (* equal contribution)
Jin X. and Costa R.M. (2010) Start/stop signals emerge in nigrostriatal circuits during sequence learning. Nature 466: 457-462.
Venkatraman S.*, Jin X.*, Costa R.M., and Carmena J.M. (2010) Using inertial sensors to investigate neural correlates of behavior in freely behaving rodents. Journal of Neurophysiology 104: 569-575. (* equal contribution)