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 perception 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 even these basic circuits are assembled. Interest in this topic has been heightened by the sensitivity of motor neurons to neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), and the quest to find treatments for spinal cord injuries. To determine how the motor system is assembled, Dr. Artur Kania's laboratory is studying axon guidance, the migration of cell bodies, apoptosis, and electrical activity during embryonic development.