LMU Division of Neurobiology
Department Biology II
Großhaderner Straße 2
+49 (0)89 / 2180-74310
Fax: +49 (0)89 / 2180-74304
Mind the gap! Gaps in sound define the pause between two words in speech, the rest between two notes in sheet music or even the tiniest temporal differences between two different vowels. Our brain has the ability to recognize and encode these gaps and other temporal patterns as well timed trains of action potentials. We all know that learned abilities in speech or music are acquired with experience and can be brought to perfection with practice. In contrast, our temporal processing abilities are acutely reduced after a rock concert and maybe altered on a long term scale by constant listening to mid-intensity music from an iPod via head phones.
The objective of this project is to understand how loud sound (acoustic trauma) can influence auditory processing and in particular, temporal integration of acoustic stimuli. Most studies of deafness have focused on damage caused to the sensory organ – the cochlea and hair cells of the inner ear. However, neurons in the auditory brainstem which process incoming information from the ears and would normally initiate protective strategies could also be modified by the trauma. We will ask: how are the neurons changed by exposure to acoustic trauma and how might this mitigate or exacerbate hearing disorders?
This investigation will provide an excellent training in electrophysiology, auditory processing, neural tracing and immunohistochemistry. The methods are all established, and a motivated student will make rapid progress in this fascinating subject.
Primary Technique(s): electrophysiology, auditory processing, neural tracing and immunohistochemistry
Model Organism(s): mouse