Colombine defends her MSc thesis

Colombine thoroughly aced her MSc thesis defense yesterday at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. I couldn’t be more proud of her and all the great work she has done in her 6 months at UCL.  Working together was very productive and great fun, and I wish her lots of continued success in her next step. Also, it was quite moving to be back at my beloved alma mater as an examiner, almost exactly 10 years after defending my own thesis.

“From sender to receiver” – Royal Society meeting

At the beginning of December, a small group of auditory neuroscientists gathered in the beautiful setting of the Royal Society’s Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire. Over two days of a great scientific programme curated by Andrei Kozlov (Imperial College) and Joerg Albert (UCL Ear Institute), researchers focusing on all possible stages of the auditory pathway confronted respective perspectives on the differences and similarities of hearing across species. It was a very successful meeting filled with high-quality and thought-provoking content. I enjoyed very good discussions with excellent people, received useful feedback on my work, met old friends and made new ones.

Kickstarting a collaboration with swiss Brain & Sound Lab

December is always an eventful month in the lab, and keeping up with the news has taken a bit of a backseat as there was much cool science to focus on! At the end of November I took a short trip to Switzerland to visit Tania Barkat’s Brain & Sound Lab at Basel University. I really enjoyed meeting this welcoming and talented team as well our good discussions of mouse auditory processing. We also laid the foundation for a fun research collaboration that I’m looking forward to taking further in the new year.

Welcome, Shanice!

Today was Shanice’s first day at the IBN. She comes to us via the UCL Neuroscience MSc programme and is joining our growing mouse song team to work on her MSc project.  I’m really happy you’re here, and thrilled to do some great science with you over the next year!

2017-2018 MSc projects on mouse songs

It’s induction week at UCL, and back to university pretty much everywhere else! I’m looking for motivated MSc students to join me for research projects related to mouse songs this year – with options to focus on studying their acoustic structure, their perception by conspecific listeners and/or their encoding by auditory neurons. The Bendor lab and the Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience form a very dynamic and welcoming environment for world-class neuroscience research, embedded in the amazing neuroscience community at University College London. If you’re interested and have any questions, please get in touch!

International Conference on Auditory Cortex

I just returned from a particularly excellent edition of the International Conference of Auditory Cortex. This meeting takes place every 3 years, and is a rare but unique opportunity for a worldwide gathering of scientists broadly interested in how we and other animals perceive sounds, and how the brain processes acoustic information. Over 4 very busy days, more than 300 of us listened to dozens of talks that together captured the current issues and big questions in the field, discussed our research over posters, and networked with old and new colleagues amidst the exceptional setting of the Canadian Rockie Mountains in Banff National Park. This was the first time I presented a poster on my mouse “love song” behaviour, to which Margaux contributed over the summer. I received encouraging and critical but useful feedback from my fellow researchers. This has boosted my motivation and curiosity, and I come back to the lab with plenty of new ideas and things to try!

Photo credit: Don Lee, The Banff Centre

Welcome, Colombine! And farewell, Margaux!

September brings change, goodbyes but also new beginnings. I’m very happy to welcome Colombine, a bio-engineering EPFL student who has just arrived in London to work on her master thesis research with me at UCL. I’m looking forward to embarking on this exciting journey with you!
After 6 months of hard work and precious contributions in getting our mouse behaviour up and running, Margaux is leaving UCL to become a PhD student at the Crick, where I know she will be very successful – again!

Meeting the community of neuroethologists

I’m incredibly pleased: for the first time, I presented my brand-new data from the line of research I set up at UCL. I was an invited speaker at the Gordon Research Seminar on Neuroethology: Behaviour, Evolution and Neurobiology. Over a sunny weekend in a small village of the swiss Alps, I was welcomed into the very smart, creative and kind community of neuroethologists. The common denominator is a focus on the quantitative analysis of natural behaviour and the underlying neuronal circuit mechanisms – whether in mice, fish, bats, birds, reptiles or salamanders.

Exciting neuroscience-filled days in San Francisco

Pawel Matusz, Alex Huth, Suzanne Dikker and myself presented our symposium “Are we ready for real-world neuroscience” at the CNS meeting on Sunday. Each of us gave a 20mn talk about our own work, which made for a fun and diverse combination of perspectives on the topic, and we concluded the session with a panel discussion. It was a great experience, and very exciting to talk science with these brilliant people.

Today I gave a seminar talk at the University of California Berkeley and met with members of the Theunissen, Yartsev and Gallant labs. I met fascinating people with whom to exchange views on vocal communication in primates, birds, bats and mice. I’m tired but happy with this visit!