- Research Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology
Area of Expertise/Research Interests
Our long‐term goal is to improve the understanding of neural mechanisms that underlie acoustic communication. Our present focus is the amygdala, a structure known for its role in auditory fear conditioning. For this role, it receives auditory input from the thalamus and cortex, contributes to identifying a stimulus as aversive, and mediates emotional responses (e.g., autonomic responses, freezing). Our view is that the amygdala plays a critical role in acoustic communication through participation in several processes. Dysfunction in the amygdala may be involved in abnormal relationships between acoustic inputs and emotional responses in disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, post‐traumatic stress, and tinnitus. We are interested in which neural inputs provide vocalization‐specific and contextual information necessary for interpretation of communication calls. This is the next step in understanding how these neural inputs act on amygdalar neurons to influence behavior.
- Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, 1999
- B.A., Physics and Neuroscience, Hampshire College, 1992