Professor and Chair
Ph.D., Indiana University
Mechanisms of central auditory processing and modulation by the limbic system.
We study neural mechanisms underlying hearing and acoustically guided behaviors, particularly social communication and biological sonar. Over the past few years, we have focused increasingly on interactions between hearing and emotions. Much of our current work examines three facets of these interactions: the link between vocal signals and an animal’s emotional state, the analysis of social vocalizations by emotional centers in the brain, and the manner in which emotional centers modify processing of sounds by the auditory system. We use a wide variety of approaches in our work—behavioral, neurophysiological, pharmacological, and anatomical. We are particularly excited about technical developments that will allow us to analyze the activity of individual neurons during social interactions.
A second focus is on the neural mechanisms underlying echolocation behavior in bats. Our laboratory has discovered novel cellular mechanisms and neural connections related to bats’ analysis of the distance of flying insects and other objects using sonar.
We thank the National Institute for Deafness and other Communication Disorders and the Ohio Board of Regents for their support of this work.