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Prof David McAlpine
UCL Ear Institute
332 Gray's Inn Rd
Tel: 020 7679 8938
Fax: 020 7837 9279
  • Professor of Auditory Neuroscience
  • The Ear Institute
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
Head of Department
Research Themes
Research Summary
My research focuses on the way in which the auditory brain processes complex sounds, from the manner in which individual neurons in the auditory brainstem integrate information arriving from the two ears, to the relationship between cortical activity and human perception. In addressing these challenging questions, my laboratory employs a wide range of techniques, often in collaboration with colleagues around UCL, to dissect those neural circuits and mechanisms responsible. Two major topics are currently under investigation. The first topic concerns the brains representation of auditory space. In vitro and in vivo recordings in a range of auditory brain centres examine neural mechanisms underpinning sensitivity to interaural time differences (ITDs), one of the binaural cues for sound-source localisation. Experiments investigating the extent to which the neural representation of auditory spatial cues is modified between brainstem and cortex make use of in vivo and in vitro recording techniques, as well as human electrophysiology, brain imaging, psychophysics and modelling. Modelling experiments are also targeted towards understanding how behavioural requirements determine the form of the neural representation in spatial hearing. The second major topic examines the extent to which the context in which a sound is heard influences the neural representation of that sound, using a combination of single neuron recording, modelling and psychophysics. The ultimate aim is to understand how the auditory brain analyses the auditory scene, grouping together sounds from common sources, and segregating them from the background.
Academic Background
1993 DPhil Doctor of Philosophy – Physiology University of Oxford
1989 BSc Hons Bachelor of Science (Honours) – Physiology University of Western Australia
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