Former Trainees: What they are doing now

Dr. Yossi Yovel

Dr. Yossi Yovel had the opportunity to work in Dr. Moss' Auditory Neuroethology Laboratory and receive support from the CEBH P-30 grant. His research title was "Beam Steering in the Fruit Bat".

Current Position: Senior Lecturer (equivalent of assistant professor), Department of Zoology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Dr. Yovel now has his own laboratory - The Bioacoustic Lab for Active Sensing and Perception.

The overall aim of the Yovel Lab is to develop computational methods to study natural (complex) behavior. Echolocating bats serve as an ideal model for doing so because, due to their active sensory system, one can follow the information they acquire from the surroundings relatively easily. The lab focuses on the sensory aspects of echolocation as well as on higher cognitive skills such as social behavior, spatial navigation and learning. The work is done both in the lab and in the field.

Dr. Kelly King

CEBH Predoctoral Trainee. Worked with Dr. Gordon-Salant. Her research title was "Characterization of the auditory phenotype in Niemann-Pick Disease, Type C".

Current Position: Clinical Research Audiologist in the Audiology Unit at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, NIH

Dr. King recently wrote: "CCEBH played an integral role in funding a portion of my PhD work, and in advancing my training in the areas of acoustics and the biological processes of hearing. Participating in the program was one of the most rewarding aspects of my graduate education."

Dr. King's primary research interests are in the pathogenesis and manifestations of hereditary hearing and balance disorders, and the correlation of distinctive auditory and vestibular phenotypes with underlying molecular genotypes.

Dr. Jonathan Simon

CEBH Postdoctoral Trainee year 4. Worked with Dr. Carr and Dr. Shamma with research subject: "Modeling of sound localization".

Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Biology, University of Maryland College Park
Member of the Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS)
Member of the Program in Bioengineering
Affiliate member of the Institute for Systems Research

Dr. Simon's broad research goal is to understand how the auditory cortex processes complex sounds such as speech and other natural sounds. Because of the focus on speech and higher order processing, his research uses human rather than animal subjects. To non-invasively record and analyze real-time neural processing in humans, Dr. Simon's uses magnetoencephalography (MEG), because of its high temporal resolution (milliseconds) and reasonable spatial resolution (millimeters).

Dr. Simon is now a C-CEBH faculty member and director of his own lab, the Computational Sensorimotor Systems Lab.

Dr. Nachum Ulanovsky

Dr. Ulanovsky worked at the Auditory Neuroethology Laboratory (Batlab) with Dr. Cynthia Moss 2004-2007 and benefited from CCEBH resources.

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel

Dr. Ulanovsky now has his own laboratory The Laboratory of Nachum Ulanovsky where he focuses his research on hippocampal neural activity in freely moving echolocating bats.

The Laboratory of Nachum Ulanovsky studies the neurobiology of learning & memory, and the relation between brain activity and behavior – more specifically, neural activity in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, brain regions crucial for memory in animals and humans. The animal model used in the lab is the echolocating bat, a flying mammal that has extraordinary spatial memory. Researchers at Dr. Ulanovsky's lab pioneered the usage of bats as a model for studies of mammalian hippocampal function: tetrode recording techniques were used, which allow collecting data from dozens of neurons simultaneously.

Some research themes in Dr. Ulanovsky's lab include:

  • Neurobiology of learning and memory: a systems neuroscience approach
  • Hippocampal and entorhinal neural activity in freely-behaving echolocating bats
  • Neurophysiological recordings in freely flying bats, using radio-telemetry
  • From the bat's biological sonar system to spatial cognition
  • The neural basis of behavior
  • Computational neuroscience; analysis of dozens of simultaneously-recorded neurons

Dr Ulanovsky was featured in a Discovery Channel movie. To see the video click here.

Dr. Bernie Lohr

C-CEBH Trainee (NIH CEBH postdoctoral trainee in year 1) at the Laboratory of Comparative Psychoacoustics (Dooling lab). As a post-doctoral trainee his research title was "Perception of complex sounds by birds".

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Dr. Lohr now has his own laboratory, the Lohr Lab.

Research in the Lohr Lab focuses on the auditory physiology and sensory biology of songbird acoustic communication. Dr. Lohr is interested in understanding the relationship between the production and perception of communication signals in the context of their mechanism, development, function, and evolution. Researchers at the Lohr Lab take an integrative approach that draws on methods from behavioral ecology, comparative psychology, neurophysiology, and evolutionary biology to investigate fundamental questions in animal communication.

How do animals encode information in the signals they produce?

How do they extract information from such signals perceptually?

How do these processes function in "noisy" natural habitats?

And, ultimately, what factors shape the evolution of such processes?

Understanding the interdependencies of signalers, channels, and receivers is essential for knowing how a biological signal functions in its natural context.

Dr. Micheal L. Dent

C-CEBH Trainee (NIH CEBH predoctoral trainee in year 6) at the Laboratory of Comparative Psychoacoustics (Dooling lab). As a trainee her research title was "Free-field binaural unmasking in the budgerigar".

Current Position: Associate Professor, Psychology, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, NY 14260

Dr. Dent now has her own laboratory, the Comparative Bioacoustics Laboratory (Dent Lab).

The overall goal of the research in the Dent Lab is to investigate acoustic communication in animals. Researchers take a comparative approach, measuring hearing and vocalizations in a number of different species, including birds and mice. They do psychoacoustic studies of hearing in animals using operant conditioning techniques, and record sonic and ultrasonic vocalizations from their subjects in various contexts.

Dr. Jenny Boughman

C-CEBH Trainee at Dr. Gerald S. Wilkinson's laboratory.

Current Position: Associate Professor, Zoology, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology & Behavior, BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824

Does sexual selection cause speciation? This long-standing but controversial question is receiving a lot of attention currently, partly because of the special role that mate choice can play in determining gene flow. Sexual selection is thought to cause reproductive isolation when male mating signals and female preferences diversify because that can lead to sexual isolation among populations. After many years of relative obscurity this question is now in the limelight, and evidence is beginning to accumulate in its support. Yet for the most part, this evidence is limited to inferring a role for sexual selection when mating traits differ between closely related species that avoid mating with each other. We remain remarkably ignorant of how sexual selection causes reproductive isolation and when it is likely to do so. We lack answers to fundamental questions such as: Is sexual selection a primary driver of speciation, or is it limited to certain taxa or circumstances? How important is it relative to natural selection or drift? If sexual selection is involved, is it arbitrary with respect to environment or is ultimately the product of ecologically-based divergent selection? Which kinds of sexual selection play a role -- sexual selection by sensory drive, good genes, or sexual conflict? What is the genetic basis of traits that confer sexual isolation?

Work at the Boughman Lab tackles these questions directly. We investigate behavioral and ecological causes of divergence in mating traits, the genetic basis of traits involved in sexual isolation, and are using a comparative approach to evaluate the generality of early results from model systems. To address these questions we use a combination of field observations and experiments, laboratory experiments, quantitative and molecular genetics, and comparative methods. We work at the intersection of several fields, incorporating conceptual underpinnings and methodology from evolutionary genetics, evolutionary ecology, behavioral ecology, and sensory biology. This highly integrative and multilevel approach has proven powerful for uncovering the processes guiding the evolution of behavior and the processes of speciation.