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Dr. Jimmy Dooley

Assistant Professor

Associated website(s):

Dr. Jimmy  Dooley


(Developmental and Behavioral Neurobiology) My lab focuses on understanding how the movements we make when we’re young help our brains learn how to move our bodies.


Infants continually explore and interact with the world around them, and these experiences are critical for normal sensorimotor development. Although it’s generally assumed that the important movements occur while we’re awake, my lab’s research calls this assumption into question. Specifically, I’ve found that myoclonic twitches (brief movements produced during REM sleep) drive neural activity throughout the brain that, in turn, promotes sensorimotor integration and development. My lab aims to understand whether this twitch-related neural activity is necessary for the development of cortically-mediated motor control. To achieve this aim, I investigate brain-behavior relations in infant rats as they cycle between sleep and wake. My research uses a variety of methods, including multichannel neurophysiology, pharmacological and optogenetic manipulations, and state-of-the art behavioral analysis.


A.B. in Biology and Psychology, University of Chicago, 2009

Ph.D. in Neuroscience, University of California, Davis, 2015
Worked in Leah Krubitzer’s laboratory

Postdoc at the University of Iowa, 2016-2022
Worked in Mark Blumberg’s laboratory

Selected Publications

Blumberg MS, Dooley JC, and Tiriac, A. ( In press ). Sleep, plasticity, and neurodevelopment. Neuron.

Dooley JC, Sokoloff G, and Blumberg, MS. (2021). Movements during sleep reveal the developmental emergence of a cerebellar-dependent internal model in motor thalamus. Current Biology . 31: 5501-5511.

Dooley JC, Glanz RM, Sokoloff G, and Blumberg MS (2020) Self-generated whisker movements drive state-dependent sensory input to developing barrel cortex. Current Biology . 30: 2404–2410. PMCID: PMC7314650

Dooley JC, Sokoloff G, and Blumberg MS (2019) Behavioral states modulate sensory processing in early development. Current Sleep Medicine Reports . 5: 112–117. PMCID: PMC6818957

Dooley JC, Blumberg MS (2018) Developmental "awakening" of primary motor cortex to the sensory consequences of movement. eLife . 7:e41841. PMCID: PMC6320070

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