Complex control of complex behavior by the cerebellum

Every movement we make requires us to precisely coordinate muscle activity across our body in space and time. In this talk I will describe our efforts to understand how the brain generates flexible, coordinated movement. We have taken a behavior-centric approach to this problem, starting with the development of quantitative frameworks for mouse locomotion (LocoMouse; Machado et al., eLife 2015, 2020) and locomotor learning, in which mice adapt their locomotor symmetry in response to environmental perturbations (Darmohray et al., Neuron 2019). Combined with genetic circuit dissection, these studies reveal specific, cerebellum-dependent features of these complex, whole-body behaviors. This provides a key entry point for understanding how neural computations within the highly stereotyped cerebellar circuit support the precise coordination of muscle activity in space and time. Finally, I will present recent unpublished data that provide surprising insights into how cerebellar circuits flexibly coordinate whole-body movements in dynamic environments.