The central question that the Takeoka lab addresses is how animals learn to generate and control motor behavior in health and disease. In particular we study mechanisms of circuit assembly, function and plasticity that leads to motor learning using a multi-disciplinary approach including detailed motor kinematic assessments, mouse genetics, viral tracing and manipulation, optogenetic, pharmacogenetic, electrophysiological, and imaging techniques. Our combinatorial approach to the fundamental basis of motor circuit function allows us to understand circuit connectivity and manipulate functions of specified neuronal populations to determine their role in sensorimotor circuit output and plasticity.
Our aims are to understand:
• How sensorimotor circuits develop to build functional units at different levels of circuits (cortex, brainstem and spinal cord) and how sensorimotor learning shapes these circuits.
• How the canonical organization of sensorimotor circuits changes after traumatic injury and neurological diseases to compensate for and contribute to motor recovery.
Currently, the lab focuses on how different types of sensory feedback circuits control repetitive and complex motor behavior, with primary focus on somatosensory and visual feedback.