Eric Yttri, an assistant professor of biological sciences and member of the Carnegie Mellon Neuroscience Institute, is a recipient of a 2019 seed grant from the Brain Research Foundation. The Yttri lab will use the funding for work on a new project to understand how value guides which behaviors we perform.
Yttri says that his lab started off being interested in motor control and how brains transform thought into action. Now, some lab members are developing an interest in value â€” the reasons behind the decision to perform actions.
â€œItâ€™s a natural transition,â€� Yttri explained. â€œWe are trying to expand from not just understanding how we do something but why we do something, and what motivates that. This project will help us get a more complete picture of everything that goes into the transformation from thought to action, the motivation behind the choice and performance of behavior.â€�
Working on this project with Yttri are postdoctoral fellow Matt Geramita and graduate student Alex Hodge.
The Brain Research Foundation seed grant program has provided startup funding for projects with high potential impact for almost 40 years. The benefit of this grant goes beyond the funding, Ytrri said. â€œTo win this grant is quite an accolade. Iâ€™m particularly excited about the broader opportunities this brings.â€�
For more information on Yttri’s research, visit the Yttri Lab site