The goal of my research is to understand the biological basis of hearing in noisy environments. Our current work focuses on the neuronal and circuit basis of hearing in normal hearing, using nonhuman primates as a model. A longer term goal of the current research involves a study of how these mechanisms are disrupted after hearing impairment, so that assistive hearing devices may be created to ameliorate the hearing loss. A future line of inquiry is to investigate how the ability to hear in noise develops as the subject develops into adulthood, and the effects of early life vs. later loss of hearing ability. Other lines of inquiry include an investigation into the ability of subjects with early hearing problems to integrate visual and auditory stimuli, and to interact with their natural environment.
We are interested in how sounds are encoded in the brain by the activity of populations of neurons, and how these populations of neurons may subserve auditory perception and behavior. To that end, we use an approach that combines behavior, electrophysiology, and quantitative analysis and computational modeling. Current projects include an investigation into the neuronal basis of detection of sounds (tones, amplitude modulated tones, human communication sounds, etc.) in noisy, naturalistic environments. The long term goal of the research done in the lab is to investigate dysfunction in encoding sounds and the dysfunction in the linkages between neuronal activity and perception in older or hearing impaired subjects, and come up with improved devices/signal processing for recovery of function. Research in the lab is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIDCD).