My research focuses on the understanding of the functional organization of central auditory stations of the mammalian brain, mainly the thalamus and auditory cortex. We study the encoding of complex auditory signals – such as speech and communication signals – from synaptic events to the perceptual behavior of animals.
We are using electrophysiology of multiple single neurons in the context of broader topographic organizations and combine this with studies of the neuroanatomy of central auditory stations. The ultimate goal is to determine where and how an acoustic-based sound representation is transformed into a speaker-independent, object-based representation of the auditory environment.
The lamina-specific functional organization of auditory cortex of behaviorally relevant aspects (e.g. frequency resolution, discrimination of vowel-like signals) is studied in awake, behaving animals and in models of linear-nonlinear receptive fields. The nature of information transmission and transformation is explored by comparing processing differences between thalamic and cortical neurons and between functional regions in auditory cortex.
Intracellular investigations of cortical receptive field generation and plasticity with whole-cell recordings have revealed fundamental insights into the construction of cortical receptive fields and the mechanisms that regulate their plasticity. The goal is to dissect the cellular and network contributions to functional organization and plasticity in the developing and adult animal.