The organization of action into sequences underlies many complex behaviours that are essential for organism’s survival and reproduction. Despite of extensive studies on innate action sequences in relation to central pattern generators, how learned action sequences are controlled and organized into proper order and timing remains largely unknown. By combining behavioral analyses, in vivo electrophysiology, genetic and optogenetic tools in mice, here I will present two recent studies from my lab demonstrating how specific neuronal populations in the cortico-basal ganglia circuitry control the order and timing of actions, respectively. These findings have important implications for a wide range of neurological diseases impaired in action sequencing, including Parkinson’s disease and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Dr. Xin Jin is a professor and director of Center for Motor Control and Disease at East China Normal University (ECNU), Shanghai. He was an Assistant Professor (2012-2017) and Associate Professor (2018-2020) of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies before joining ECNU in 2021. His lab research focuses on the basal ganglia circuitry and action control. The work has been recognized by many international awards including Portuguese Society for Neuroscience Featured Article Award, NIH Benedict J. Latteri Memorial Award, Society for Neuroscience Gruber International Research Award, and Mcknight Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award.