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Eric Yttri

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Biography

My recent work has established, contrary to previous hypotheses, that the direct and indirect pathways are each sufficient to selectively reinforce parameters of movements underlying reward-seeking actions, demonstrating an unprecedented combination of specificity and flexibility in the control of volition by the basal ganglia. Furthermore, our computational models predict both the behavioral and synaptic mechanisms that lead an animal to choose from and adapt to a continuous array of options, rather than making simple binary decisions. Ongoing research using paired population recordings and optogenetic stimulation is revealing that the basal ganglia can predict complex features of choice behavior well before any decision has been enacted. Future work will examine how reward signals in the basal ganglia circuitry shape aspects of behavior, with the goal to apply these recent insights to addressing basal ganglia disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

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Education

PhD, Neuroscience, Washington University in St. Louis
BS, Neuroscience, College of William and Mary