Project Grant


Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie
University of Otago

Do basal ganglia inputs activate motor thalamus neurons?

Investigating the changes in a brain pathway in a model of Parkinson’s disease to improve our understanding of how the brain controls movement 

In Parkinson’s disease (PD), loss of the brain chemical dopamine alters activity throughout movement control pathways. Dr Parr-Brownlie will investigate how one brain pathway, between two parts of the brain known as the basal ganglia and motor thalamus, usually works and if this is altered in PD. Using selective optogenetic stimulation, a cutting-edge technology, Dr Parr-Brownlie will investigate if this connection simultaneously releases two chemicals, thus is more complex than previously thought. Furthermore, this study will determine if this chemical release is altered in a model of PD. These data will improve our understanding of how the brain controls movement and the changes that occur in PD, thus highlighting new potential treatment sites.