Whelan lab

The Whelan Lab

Understanding the mechanisms that promote walking.

About Us

Our work centers on understanding the underlying mechanisms that contribute to motor control. It is relevant to many medical conditions where gait is affected including Parkinson's Disease, Fragile X Syndrome, spinal cord injury, and stroke. Gait rehabilitation represents a major area of brain dysfunction that greatly impacts the quality of life for those afflicted. Rehabilitation can induce plasticity in neural circuits at the level of the spinal cord and brain. We are interested in understanding the structure and function of brain circuits and the activity patterns of motor networks in the spinal cord. We also are interested in manipulating brain circuits and finding new ways to alleviate motor deficits.

Dopamine | Parkinson's Disease | Fragile X Syndrome | Spinal Cord Injury

Our lab utilizes a cells-to-systems approach to study:

  1. Descending modulation of motor behaviour in freely-behaving mice
  2. Connectivity between brain regions involved in motor control
  3. Modulation of spinal networks and cellular properties generating rhythmic motor activity during development
  4. Contribution of descending modulatory pathways during movement disorders and recovery following spinal cord injury