Past event

The neural control of movement in health and disease: who needs a brain? Inaugural Lecture by Professor Gareth Miles, School of Psychology & Neuroscience

Complex networks of neurons within the spinal cord and brainstem generate the electrical signals that control muscles and therefore govern all movements. Intriguingly, these often-overlooked parts of the nervous system can control movements with little or no input from the brain. Neural networks of the spinal cord and brainstem can adjust their output to suit ever-changing environmental and organismal demands.

Professor Miles' research aims to decipher the cellular mechanisms that enable these motor control systems to function in an independent and adaptable manner. His team's work in this area has revealed and characterised novel components of motor control systems, including new classes of neurons and non-traditional roles for their near neighbours, glial cells.

Unfortunately, adaptive adjustments to neural networks can go too far and damage the constituent neurons, as seen in devastating diseases such as Motor Neuron Disease (MND). Professor Miles' work therefore also strives to understand how changes in neural function can tip the scales towards neurodegeneration. His team's research has discovered novel disease mechanisms and highlighted much-needed, new therapeutic targets for MND.

The lecture will be followed by a reception in Lower College Hall.

This lecture will operate under the Covid controls applicable on Wednesday 2 March 2022.

Attendees are kindly asked to register using the ticketing system as up-to-date Covid advice will be provided nearer the time.