Mostafa Safaie, student in the sensorimotor learning lab at Inmed, under the supervision of David Robbe, is one the three laureates of the 2021 thesis prize awarded by the french society of neuroscience. He and his colleagues first studied whether there is an internal mechanism which can provide a measure of time that drives behavior. Multiple experiments designed to interfere with the usage of stereotyped motor routines all led to a drastic decline in temporal accuracy, suggesting that accurate timing requires stereotyped motor routines. Then, they studied the function of the dorsal striatum in the learning and execution of these routines. They showed that after permanent lesions of the striatum, the only consistent effect is an oversensitivity to the effort invested in motor routines.
Mostafa is now a postdoc at Imperial College of London in the Be.Neuro Lab where he’s pursuing his investigations on motor habits, mixing studies of behavior, electrophysiology and brain-machine interface.