Artur Kania, PhD
The human body interacts with the outside world through voluntary movements like a ballerina’s precisely coordinated grand jeté or the delicate movements of a watchmaker’s fingers. The basic units that control these behaviours are motor neurons that transmit the summation of motor system activity to the somatic muscles. Compared to visual recognition or abstract thinking, the tasks performed by components of the motor system appear to be relatively simple, but we do not yet fully understand how these basic circuits come together. Interest in this topic has been heightened by the sensitivity of motor neurons in neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), growth defects associated with movement disorders, and the quest to find treatments for spinal cord injuries. To determine how the motor system is assembled, my laboratory is studying axon guidance, the migration of cell bodies, apoptosis, and electrical activity during embryo development of groups of motor neurons.
Degrees and relevant experience