The Leventhal laboratory studies movement disorders, a group of diseases characterized by abnormal movement patterns despite normal strength and sensation. These include Parkinson Disease, Huntington Disease, dystonia, tic disorders, and many others.
Most movement disorders are believed to result from dysfunction of deep brain structures called the basal ganglia. Our focus is to understand how the basal ganglia interact with each other and other brain structures, both normally and in disease states. To accomplish this goal, we use primarily in vivo electrophysiology and optogenetics in rodents performing complex motor tasks. Our ultimate goal is to learn how to push “pathologic” network activity towards normal function to improve quality of life for people dealing with these conditions.