The general goal of our lab is to understand how information about sound is processed by the brain. The inferior colliculus (IC) is at the center of the auditory pathway. All information about sound must pass through the IC as it travels from the ear to the cerebral cortex. We are part of an international effort to unlock the secrets of this part of the brain.
Current work in the lab is focused on:
(1) Studies of the neurons, brain microcircuits, and synaptic organization of the auditory midbrain.
(2) Studies mechanisms that control the postsynaptic neurons in the auditory midbrain.
(3) In vivo whole cell recording of synaptic responses to sound stimuli.
We use many different methodologies. Neurons are studied in vivo so that we can use sound to identify their function. Neurons are also studied in vitro so that we can see the cell types and networks in isolation. Most of our experiments involve some combination of morphology, physiology, or molecular biology. Experimental methods include binaural auditory physiology in vivo as a routine part of anatomical experiments; whole-cell recordings in brain slices and in vivo; in situ hybridization; immunohistochemistry; histology for tract tracing and CNS tissue. Optical methods include brightfield, darkfield, epi-fluorescence, infrared differential interference contrast, and confocal microscopy. We frequently use advanced image processing and 3D reconstruction tools.