Professor Chris Miall BSc, DIC, PhD, ARCS

Chris Miall

School of Psychology
Professor of Motor Neuroscience

Contact details

Address
School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Professor Miall has been studying sensorimotor control for about 35 years, from his PhD in locusts, to crayfish, primates and for the last 15 years, working exclusively on human sensory and motor systems. He is particularly interested in the role of the cerebellum, in motor learning and in predictive control, and the role of the cerebellum in cognitive processes.

His research team website is: http://prism.bham.ac.uk

Qualifications

  • B.Sc. (Imperial, London, 1977)
  • Ph.D. (Imperial, London, 1980)

Biography

Professor Miall has been studying sensory motor control for about 35 years. His PhD was a mix of behavioural studies and developmental endocrinology in locusts, with John Moorhouse at Imperial College London and Bill Mordue (Aberdeen). He started off his post-doctoral research studying the electrophysiology of crayfish, working with Jim Larimer in Austin, Texas. He was then trained in signals analysis and computing by Dick Kitney at Imperial College and worked on primate neurophysiology with John Stein at Oxford. In 1986 he briefly reverted to using insect models, to study flight control in locusts, and also dabbled in neural networks, supported by a Senior Research Fellowship at King’s College Research Centre in Cambridge. And in 1989 he returned to Oxford, where he stayed until 2004 when he moved to the Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre in the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham. In 2006 he took over as Head of Psychology, and in 2013 became the Director of Research for the College of Life and Environmental Sciences.

Teaching

Professor Miall teaches a second year course on the Neural Control of Movement, and also teaches on the MSc in Brain Imaging and Cognitive Neuroscience, and the MSc in Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics.

Postgraduate supervision

Professor Miall is interested in supervising graduate students in topics related to sensori-motor control, motor learning and the functions of the cerebellum. Students should be knowledgeable about neuroscience, and interested in quantitative analysis of behaviour.

Research

Professor Miall’s research focuses on motor learning and motor coordination, usually in visually guided actions (such as tracking of moving objects, or using a computer mouse). Much of his recent work has been directed towards questions of predictive knowledge and predictive control, and how these issues reflect on the use of 'internal models' in the nervous system. He is also interested in extending this work on predictive control into cognitive domains. His team are using tests of human motor psychophysics, with functional MRI and MRS to map brain function, and TMS and TDCS to perturb its operations. Recent work has explored the use of robotics for stroke rehabilitation and of virtual reality systems for movement assessment and retraining. Most recently, he has begun to explore the possibilities of using new MEG sensors (OPMs) to record evoked responses in the cerebellum, a territory only poorly detected by standard MEG methods.

He is currently funded by:

  • Royal Society Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship.

He is a member of the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics (CNCR) and the Centre for Human Brain Health (CHBH). 

His research team website is: http://prism.bham.ac.uk

Other activities

Professor Miall has served on the board of the Society for the Neural Control of Movement for three terms, is a member of the Society for Research on the Cerebellum, of the British Neuroscience Association, and the Society for Neuroscience.

He has held Research Fellowships from the MRC, Wolfson College Oxford, Kings College Cambridge, the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society-Leverhulme Trust. In 2011 he was elected a Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

He is currently serving on the MRC Neuroscience and Mental Health Board (NMHB).

Publications

  1. Jalali R, Chowdhury A, Mayhew SD, Wilson M, Miall RC, Galea JM. (2018) Neural changes associated with cerebellar tDCS studied using MR spectroscopy. Exp. Brain Res. in press.
  2. Gonzalez CC, Causer J, Grey MJ, Humphreys GW, Miall RC, Williams AM. (2017) Exploring the quiet eye in archery using field- and laboratory-based tasks. Exp Brain Res. in press
  3. Jalali R, Miall RC, Galea J. (2017) No consistent effect of cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on visuomotor adaptation. J Neurophysiol. 118: 655–665.
  4. Lesage E, Hansen PC & Miall RC (2017) The right lateral cerebellum represents linguistic predictability. J Neurosci. 37: 6231-6241.
  5. Miall RC, Cole J, Haggard PN (2017) Control of wrist movement in deafferented man: evidence for a mixed strategy of position and amplitude control. Exp Brain Res. 235: 3403-3416
  6. Panouillères MTN, Joundi RA, Benitez-Riveiro S, Cheeran B, Butler B, Nemeth A, Miall RC, Jenkinson N. (2017) Sensorimotor adaptation as a behavioural biomarker of early spinocerebellar ataxia type 6. Sci Reports ;7(1):2366.
  7. Rosenthal O, Wing AM, Wyatt J, Punt D, Miall RC. (2017) Mapping upper-limb motor impairment after stroke - a proof of concept. J NeuroEng and Neurorehab. 14:127-.
  8. Sokolov AA, Miall RC, Ivry RB. (2017) The cerebellum: Adaptive prediction for movement and cognition. T.I.C.S. 21: 313-332.
  9. Tchalenko J & Miall RC. (2017) Auguste Rodin draws blind: An art and psychology study. Leonardo, Int. J. Arts & Sciences. on-line doi: 10.1162/LEON_a_01553. 
  10. Thomaschke R, Miall RC, Rueß M, Mehta PR, Hopkins B. (2017) Visuomotor and motorvisual priming with different types of set level congruency: Evidence in support of ideomotor theory, and the Planning and Control Model (PCM). Psych Res. in press.
  11. Westwood SJ, Olson A, Miall RC, Nappo R, Romani C. (2017) Limits to tDCS effects in language: Failures to modulate word production in healthy participants with frontal or temporal tDCS. Cortex, 86: 64-82.
  12. Westwood SJ, Olson A, Miall RC, Romani C. (2017) tDCS modulation of naming in healthy participants: Negative results and still no explanation – a response to a commentary by Gauvin et al. (2017). Cortex, in press.
  13. Caligiore D, Pezzulo G, Baldassarre G, Bostan AC, Strick PL, Doya K, Helmich RC, Dirkx M, Houk J, Jörntell H, Lago-Rodriguez A, Galea JM, Miall RC, Popa T, Kishore A, Verschure P, Zucca R, Herreros I. (2016) Towards a systems-level view of cerebellar function: the interplay between cerebellum, basal ganglia and cortex. Cerebellum, 16: 203-229.
  14. Christou A, Miall RC, McNab F, Galea J. (2016) Individual differences in explicit and implicit visuomotor learning and working memory capacity. Sci. Reports 6: 36633. 
  15. Grimaldi G, Argyropoulos GP, Bastian A, Cortes M, Davis NJ, Edwards DJ, Ferrucci R, Fregni F, Galea JM, Hamada M, Manto M, Miall RC, Morales-Quezada L, Pope PA, Priori A, Rothwell J, Tomlinson SP & Celnik P. (2016) Cerebellar Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (ctDCS): A Novel Approach To Understand Cerebellar Function In Health And Disease. The Neuroscientist 22: 83–97.

Expertise

How the human brain controls movement; how we learn and adapt our movements; visual guided movement; use of brain imaging, brain stimulation and movement recording methods, both in normal people and in patients with movement disorders

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