Sergiy Yakovenko, PhD
Department of Human Performance – Exercise Physiology
Our lab studies neural circuits in the auditory brainstem that participate in processing the temporal structure of sound stimuli. We are trying to understand the functional contribution of these brainstem nuclei to the complex circuits that give rise to sound perception in mammals.
Techniques used, and therefore to be learned, by successful applicant:
Primary techniques used in the lab are single-unit electrophysiology to record sound-evoked activity of individual brainstem neurons, and tract-tracing and immunohistochemistry to uncover the synaptic inputs and projections of these neurons and their functional properties. They are also developing new reversible inactivation procedures that utilize viral constructs.
Significance of this work:
A better understanding of the neural substrates subserving temporal auditory processing will be useful in the design of assistive hearing devices, eventually opening the possibility of the development of more effective prostheses.
Two potential projects:
(1) Effects of the functional inactivation of brainstem neurons on the temporal processing of acoustic stimuli in the auditory midbrain.
(2) Structural examination of the nature and distribution of synaptic contacts impinging on auditory brainstem neurons.