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Neurobiology of Action

About

Costa Lab

Costa Lab

To study actions is to study the way we do things, which is different than studying how we remember stimuli, or facts and events. Some actions are innate or pre-wired (like swallowing or breathing). Others are learned anew throughout life, likely through a process of trial and feedback. We currently focus on understanding the processes mediating the latter.

A growing body of evidence suggests that cortico-basal ganglia circuits are involved in action generation and selection, in skill learning, and in learning goal-directed actions and habits. We center our efforts on investigating the cortico-basal ganglia mechanisms underlying these processes using an across-level approach, from molecules to circuits.

We chose to implement this integrative approach in mice because they combine the power of genetics, a mammalian brain with canonical cortico-basal ganglia loops that can generate and propagate oscillatory activity, and the possibility of accurately quantifying simple behaviors like action initiation (with EMG recordings or using inertial sensors) and stereotypic skill learning, and more elaborate behaviors like goal-directed actions.

INFO

Opportunities

If you are interested in joining our group, please contact Rui Costa via email.

Projects

Costa Lab

Know our Projects

Our overall goal is to understand how changes in molecular networks in the brain modify neural circuits to allow the generation of novel actions and their shaping by experience. To achieve this, we subdivided our experiments in different subgoals:

Team

Costa Lab

Know our Team

Rui Costa

Principal Investigator

Ana Cruz

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ana Fernandes

Ana Fernandes

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ana Isidro

Masters Student

Andreas Klaus

Postdoctoral Researcher

Catarina Carvalho

Postdoctoral Researcher

Catherine French

Postdoctoral Researcher

Cristina Afonso

Postdoctoral Researcher

Cristina Álcacer

Postdoctoral Researcher

Daniela Pereira

Research Scientist

Ivo Marcelo

PhD Student

Joaquim Alves da Silva

PhD Student

Marcelo Mendonça

PhD Student

Margarida Nunes

Margarida Nunes

Lab Administrator

Nicolas Morgenstern

Postdoctoral Researcher

Nuno Loureiro

2012 INDP PhD Student

Rodrigo Oliveira

Postdoctoral Researcher

Sara Abalde

Masters Student

Sara de Oliveira

Masters Student

Sofia Marques

Research Technician

Tatiana Saraiva

Research Technician

Vítor Paixão

Postdoctoral Researcher

Publications

Costa Lab

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