Rhyth­m­ic motor behaviors, such as breathing and walking, provide a straightforward beha­vio­ral con­text for extracting mean­ing from dynamic activity patterns produced in the underlying neural circuits. Neu­ral cir­cuits controlling rhythmic movements are known as central pattern generators (CPGs) and take tonic excitatory drive and gene­rate rhythmic motor out­put. My gene­ral aim is to use the CPG controlling breathing to under­stand how physio­lo­gical and patho­phys­io­­­logical chan­ges in excita­tion and inhibition influ­ence the dynamics of rhythmic neural cir­cuits to con­­trol move­ments in mam­mals. I utilize novel, network-level approaches, focused on patterned manipulations of small networks of neu­rons, i.e., micro­circuits, to sig­nificantly advance our understand­ing of disea­ses of motor control and reveal how the phenomenal diversity of behavior emerges from dynamic activity in the brain.

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