Brain function is remarkably reliable despite the imprecise performance of neurons and the continuous perturbations caused by aging, disease or injury. How does the brain succeed in producing stereotypic behaviors over long periods of time despite these perturbations? We are interested in studying the cellular and system mechanisms by which neuronal circuits are able to "self-tune" and adapt to perturbations. We are using genetic manipulations to perturb brain circuits to ask two types of questions: (i) how do brain circuits adapt when a large percentage of their neurons are deleted or silenced?, (ii) how do brain circuits adapt when electrical noise is injected into the system?. To study these questions we are focusing on the song circuits of birds because song is an extremely stereotypical behavior that can be rigorously measured.
1. Define the concepts of brain resilience and behavioral stereotypy
2. Explain the experimental methods that can be used to investigate brain resilience
3. Explain how investigating mechanisms of brain resilience in animals could be useful to improve outcomes in humans after diseases such as stroke