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Professor Richard Apps

Professor Richard Apps

Professor Richard Apps
PhD, Ph.D.(Bristol)

Professor of Neuroscience

Area of research

Cerebellar contributions to movement control

Office E.23
Biomedical Sciences Building,
University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TD
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 2264


The overall aim of my research is to understand the contributions the mammalian cerebellum makes to the control of voluntary limb movements.

The cerebellum is the largest motor structure within the brain and to succeed in this aim would substantially increase knowledge of the way in which movements are controlled, as well as shed light on the functional organization of a major neural structure and the pathways linking it to other parts of the nervous system.

In particular, the climbing fibre pathways connecting the inferior olive (a brainstem nucleus) to the cerebellum play a vital but enigmatic role in the regulation of movements. In the short to medium term a key aim of my work is to test and refine the hypothesis that these connections provide 'error signals' to the cerebellum during performance of both new and well-rehearsed movements.

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Activities / Findings

  • Cerebro-ponto-cerebellar connections
  • Discovery of novel Cerebro-cerebellar connections Read more >
  • Role of the lateral cerebellum in visuomotor control
  • Gating of transmission in olivocerebellar pathways
  • We have demonstrated that cerebellar purkinje cells can generate an internal model of a moving external object Read more >
  • The role of the PAG in regulating motor activity in conditions such as chronic pain Read more >


  • School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience:
    • Science 2 lectures (motor control)
    • Science 3 (research seminars on cerebellar zonation)
  • Dental course (lectures on motor control, histology of muscle and CNS)


  • Inferior olive
  • climbing fibre
  • motor control
  • cerebellar Purkinje cells


  • Cerebellar ataxias
  • olivocerebellar atrophy
  • spinocerebellar ataxia

Processes and functions

  • Locomotion
  • reaching
  • cognition
  • defensive behaviours


  • Neural axonal tract tracing combined with electyrophysiological recording (extracellular single unit and evoked field potentials)
  • acute electrophysiological recording
  • chronic recording methods in physiological models
  • behavioural techniques


Selected publications

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Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Networks & contacts

  • Professor Bridget Lumb (Bristol)
  • Professor Iain Gilchrist (Bristol) Professor Zafar Bashir (Bristol) Dr John Brooks (Bristol) Professor Izumi Sugihara (Tokyo) Professor Jan Voogd and Dr Tom Ruigrok (Rotterdam)
  • Professor Eric Lang (New York)

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