Development and Control of Repetitive Leg Movements During Embryonic Development
Professor Nina Bradley is Principal Investigator of this NICHD funded research project, which seeks to determine whether fetal movements and the environment in which they are generated contribute to adaptive postnatal motor behavior. New imaging technologies are revealing ever-greater details of motor behavior in the fetus for clinical diagnosis and treatment, and understanding the form, mechanisms, and significance of fetal behavior will be important for maximizing clinical application of imaging tools. This project investigates an array of repetitive leg movements, such as kicking and stepping, that emerge in the final days of development in the chick embryo, previous to hatching and bipedal locomotion. Chick embryos are ideal for this research because chick embryos, like human fetuses, begin generating complex movements such as kicking and stepping early in development, and are amenable to experimental manipulation throughout embryonic development. This study will provide fundamental information concerning environmental impact in the neural control of prenatal limb movements during normal development in utero, and when environmental forces are altered by premature birth.
More information concerning this research is available here