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Complex system and future
technologies in neuroscience – CSFTN’24
29-30 June 2024 Teleon Imperial Hotel (link)
Venue: St Peterburg, Russia

Tatyana Yakusheva

Tatyana Yakusheva

Washington University in St. Louis, Department of Potolaryngology, (St. Louis, USA)

The role of the cerebellum in spatial navigation

Abstract:Our laboratory studies the role of the vestibulocerebellum (Nodulus/Uvula and Flocculus) in visual-vestibular signal processing and spatial navigation. Dysfunction in the vestibulocerebellum has been linked to a range of clinical conditions, such as ataxia, vertigo, and other balance disorders associated with neurogenerative deceases. By studying the neural mechanisms that underlie the function of the vestibulocerebellum, our research could provide new insights into the causes and treatment of these conditions.

We use various experimental techniques, including single-unit recordings, pharmacology, behavioral neuroscience, neurogenetics, immunohistochemistry, and computational neuroscience. Here, I will present the results of our landmark studies in rhesus monkeys, where we showed that cerebellar nodulus and uvula performs a key computation for spatial navigation. They transform an idiothetic motion reference frame into an earth-bounded, allothetic, motion (translation and tilt) reference frame. We found that the cerebellar Purkinje cells, the sole output of cerebellum, carry transformed vestibular information from semicircular canals and otolith organs. Furthermore, using minute injections of GABA-A receptor antagonist to disrupt local cerebellar processing in the macaque monkey, we found that all canal-related information is removed from Purkinje cell responses, indicating that the canal signal transformations happen locally within the cerebellar nodulus and uvula. The implications of these findings extend beyond basic neuroscience, offering valuable insights into the neural basis of spatial cognition in primates, including humans.

Speaker:Tatyana Yakusheva is a Assistant Professor of Department of Otolaryngology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dr. Yakusheva received M.S. in Biology and Physiology from the Saratov State University, Russia, in 1997. She received her Ph.D. in Physiology in 2003 from the Saratov State University and Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia. Dr. Tatyana Yakusheva's major contribution lies in her groundbreaking research on the vestibulocerebellum, particularly focusing on the cerebellar nodulus and uvula. Her work has significantly advanced our understanding of how these brain regions contribute to spatial navigation, motor control, and vestibular processing.