Cerebellar Research D. Timmann

Dagmar Timmann’s group is interested in the physiology of the human cerebellum. A major interest is the involvement of the human cerebellum in different forms of motor learning. Recently, a set-up to investigate classical eyeblink conditioning in the 7T scanner was established together with colleagues from the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (Thürling et al. J Neurosci, 2015).

Questions addressed are whether the cerebellum is involved in particular forms of learning, which cerebellar areas are involved and what the mechanisms of cerebellar involvement are. Another interest is the role of the cerebellum in cognition. Localization of function is performed not only at the level of the cerebellar cortex, but also at the level of the cerebellar nuclei. Structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used in healthy subjects and patients with different forms of ataxia. The excellent signal-to-noise-ratio of 7T MRI allows to study cerebellar function at the level of the cerebellar nuclei. For example, Dagmar Timmann’s group showed that structural 7T MRI allows to visualize abnormalities of the cerebellar nuclei in patients with Friedreich’s ataxia, spinocerebellar ataxia types 3 and 6 (SCA3, SCA6) (Stefanescu et al. Brain, 2015). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is used to modulate cerebellar function in healthy subjects and patients with cerebellar disease.

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