Neuronal substrates of auditory social cognition in mice
The central question driving my research is: how does our brain enable us to successfully communicate with each other? One crucial aspect of this ability is how the listener’s brain extracts and represents relevant social information from the communicated sound patterns. Like humans, mice are social animals who exchange complex vocal sounds during their interactions with each other. However, the neuronal mechanisms underlying the recognition and use of auditory social cues by mammals are still not understood. Finding this out is the goal of my postdoctoral research, supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation and a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust, which I currently carry out at the Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience at University College London, with Dr. Dan Bendor‘s Neural Encoding Lab. In my research to address these questions, I combine ethologically relevant behavioural assays, neuronal ensemble recordings in the auditory cortex of freely-moving animals, and molecular-genetic manipulations of neuronal circuits.