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75% Biology, 25% Biomedical Engineering
  • 765-496-1425
  • MJIS 2023

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Biomedical Engineering , Publications



(Neurobiology and physiology) Central auditory neurophysiology and neuroanatomy at the systems and cellular levels.


The goal in the laboratory is to understand how physical signals, especially sound, are represented by neural activity in the auditory thalamus and auditory cortex in normal and pathological conditions. These neural representations then form the basis for sound perception and the decisions or actions that arise as a consequence. Experimentally, our studies of neural representations involve recording the activities of individual neurons in the auditory thalamus and cortex while an awake animal listens to sound stimuli. Neural activity takes the form of patterns of rapid electrical changes in the neuron, called action potentials or spikes. Changes in the rate and pattern of spiking by a neuron can indicate the presence of a particular sound feature, such as the frequency or the loudness of the sound. In pathological conditions such as aging or dyslexia, it is known that auditory perception is degraded. However, it is unknown how this translates to a degradation in the ability of neurons to reliably represent sound features. We will investigate this issue in our experiments.

In addition, the laboratory studies the cellular mechanisms that are responsible for the generation of the neural responses observed in vivo . To do this, whole-cell patch clamp recordings are performed on neurons in brain slices while electrically stimulating the inputs to the neuron in order to generate synaptic potentials. An understanding of the cellular mechanisms underlying neuronal responses will allow us to predict how changes in the cell incurred by aging or other pathological insults will affect neuronal responses. This then gives us the cellular basis for the perceptual deficits observed at the whole organism level. Furthermore, it allows for the possibility of pharmacological treatment of any observed cellular deficits that could lead to a remediation of perceptual deficits.

Finally, neuroanatomical techniques are used to correlate neuronal responses with their location within the auditory thalamus or cortex in vivo or with their cellular morphology in brain slices.

Other Activities

Professional Organizations:

  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Association for Research on Otolaryngology

Invited Lectures, 2013-2018:

  • "Short stories about the non-lemniscal thalamus." Association for Research in Otolaryngology, February 19, 2013.
  • "'Eh, what's that sonny?': Neural representations of sounds in young versus old animals." Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana, March 22, 2013.
  • "Mechanisms of temporal processing across the lifespan: Current research and future possibilities." The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine, May 28, 2013.
  • "Parallel pathways for processing in auditory thalamus and cortex." University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, November 1, 2013.
  • "Cellular properties that shape temporal processing in the auditory thalamus across the lifespan." University of Souther California, Los Angeles, California, April 7, 2014.
  • "Multi-level analysis of age-related declines in auditory temporal processing." Hearing Across the Lifespan, Como, Italy, June 5, 2014.
  • "Multi-level analysis of age-related declines in auditory temporal processing," NEOMED, Rootstown, Ohio, September 25, 2014.
  • "The trick is growing up without growing old: Auditory processing throughout the lifespan," National Institute on Drug Abuse, Baltimore, Maryland, April 6, 2015.
  • "Neural representations of complex sound processing in young and aged animals," Aging and Speech Communication, October 12, 2015.
  • "The beat goes on...phase lag and lead between my research and Tom Yin's research," University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, October 22, 2015.
  • "Don't stop 'til you get enough: balance of excitation and inhibition across the lifespan in auditory circuits," University of Connecticut, April 16, 2016.
  • "Overcompensation in older males — for hearing," Frequency Following Response workshop, Boston University and Harvard/MIT hosting, May 19, 2016.
  • "Overcompensation in older males — for hearing in circuits across the lifespan," University of Florida, June 2, 2016.

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