Julie E. Miller

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Similarities between speech and birdsong make songbirds advantageous for investigating the neurogenetics of learned vocal communication--a complex phenotype probably supported by ensembles of interacting genes in cortico-basal ganglia pathways of both species. To date, only FoxP2 has been identified as critical to both speech and birdsong. We performed(More)
Cognitive and motor deficits associated with language and speech are seen in humans harboring FOXP2 mutations. The neural bases for FOXP2 mutation-related deficits are thought to reside in structural abnormalities distributed across systems important for language and motor learning including the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. In these brain(More)
Communication and swallowing deficits are common in Parkinson's disease (PD). Evidence indicates that voice and speech dysfunction manifest early, prior to motor deficits typically associated with striatal dopamine loss. Unlike deficits in the extremities, cranial sensorimotor deficits are refractory to standard dopamine-related pharmacological and surgical(More)
BACKGROUND Trial by trial variability during motor learning is a feature encoded by the basal ganglia of both humans and songbirds, and is important for reinforcement of optimal motor patterns, including those that produce speech and birdsong. Given the many parallels between these behaviors, songbirds provide a useful model to investigate neural mechanisms(More)
Midbrain dopamine (DA) modulates the activity of basal ganglia circuitry important for motor control in a variety of species. In songbirds, DA underlies motivational behavior including reproductive drive and is implicated as a gatekeeper for neural activity governing vocal variability. In the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, DA levels increase in Area X, a(More)
Both avian and mammalian basal ganglia are involved in voluntary motor control. In birds, such movements include hopping, perching and flying. Two organizational features that distinguish the songbird basal ganglia are that striatal and pallidal neurons are intermingled, and that neurons dedicated to vocal-motor function are clustered together in a dense(More)
Steroid hormones modulate motor circuits in both vertebrates and invertebrates. The insect Manduca sexta, with its well-characterized developmental and endocrinological history, is a useful model system in which to study these effects. Wandering is a stage-specific locomotor behavior triggered by the steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), consisting of(More)
What is sleep’s function? Despite different opinions, there is consensus that sleep is not a passive state but rather involves active changes in brain metabolism and neuronal activity including, in terrestrial animals, alternation between two sleep stages, rapid-eye movements (REM) and non-REM sleep (selected reviews: Markov and Goldman 2006; Siegel 2005).(More)
Molecular and genetic analysis of synaptic signaling in Drosophila has yielded many insights into nervous system development, properties of synaptic transmission, and how long-lasting changes in neurons occur. Synaptic signaling components required for synaptic transmission and pathways leading to nervous system plasticity are typically conserved from(More)
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