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Kiehn Laboratory

Research in the laboratory is directed to understand mechanisms by which neurons and neural networks operate to generate complex brain function.

Gait patterns in mice
Gait patterns in mice. Photo: Ole Kiehn.

Research focus

Mammalian Locomotor Laboratory

Research in the laboratory is directed to understand mechanisms by which neurons and neural networks operate to generate complex brain function. We use the rodent as a model system to study the molecular, cellular and network organization of spinal locomotor circuitries, their development and central control in mammals. We apply a broad technical approach that combines electrophysiology and anatomy with molecular mouse genetics, optogenetics and behavioral analyses.

The lab has defined interneuron circuitries controlling left-right coordination and characterized inhibitory and excitatory interneuron networks engaged in pattern formation. A distinct aim of current work is to identify core circuits generating the rhythm and descending locomotor command systems and their integration in the locomotor network.

The lab is also engaged in characterizing plasticity in spinal networks and motor neurons following lesions of the cord and to devise targeted manipulation of these changes to alleviate dysfunctional motor symptoms following spinal cord injury.

Group members

Group members - Kiehn laboratory

Selected publications

Descending Command Neurons in the Brainstem that Halt Locomotion.
Bouvier J, Caggiano V, Leiras R, Caldeira V, Bellardita C, Balueva K, et al
Cell 2015 Nov;163(5):1191-1203

Locomotor rhythm generation linked to the output of spinal shox2 excitatory interneurons.
Dougherty KJ, Zagoraiou L, Satoh D, Rozani I, Doobar S, Arber S, et al
Neuron 2013 Nov;80(4):920-33

Dual-mode operation of neuronal networks involved in left-right alternation.
Talpalar AE, Bouvier J, Borgius L, Fortin G, Pierani A, Kiehn O
Nature 2013 Aug;500(7460):85-8

Optogenetic dissection reveals multiple rhythmogenic modules underlying locomotion.
Hägglund M, Dougherty KJ, Borgius L, Itohara S, Iwasato T, Kiehn O
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2013 Jul;110(28):11589-94

Identification of minimal neuronal networks involved in flexor-extensor alternation in the mammalian spinal cord.
Talpalar AE, Endo T, Löw P, Borgius L, Hägglund M, Dougherty KJ, et al
Neuron 2011 Sep;71(6):1071-84

Contact

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