Although the cerebellum is mainly known as a sensory/motor structure, its influence and connections reach many regions known for cognitive function, emotion, and reward. I will present evidence for the idea that the cerebellum acts during sensitive periods to shape the developing brain. This hypothesis can explain a wide range of observations in autism, and may illuminate how the brain's wiring is shaped by early-life sensory experience.
Sam Wang is a professor of neuroscience at Princeton. The Wang laboratory does basic research in several areas: (1) information processing in the cerebellum, including its contributions to motor learning; (2) cerebellar roles in cognitive and affective function and autism spectrum disorder; (3) the improvement of tools for awake, in vivo optical imaging; and (4) synaptic learning rules throughout the brain.