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Petra Fischer

DPhil Student

I joined Peter Brown’s group as a DPhil student in 2014 with the aim to study and contribute to the existing body of knowledge on oscillations within the basal ganglia. I am interested in how exogenous, for example auditory, cues alter pathological network activity in Parkinson's disease such that repetitive motor activities like walking or speaking are facilitated. Deep brain stimulation interacts more directly with the surrounding neuronal tissue, and within the subthalamic nucleus (STN) – a common surgical target – conventional high-frequency stimulation may effectively alleviate tremor, rigidity and bradykinesia. Yet it can be ineffective or even detrimental with respect to speech or gait problems such as freezing. Knowledge on how neuronal activity is altered when movement is facilitated by exogenous cues thus might become highly valuable and inspire new approaches to interventions in the near future.

I am also interested in the cascade of changes in neuronal activity during action stopping as it can help us to understand fundamental information processing principles in the brain. It may also provide insights into what goes wrong when involuntary motor blocks inhibit movement.