Neural circuits for selective auditory filtering

Year of award: 2016


  • Dr Nicholas Lesica

    University College London

Project summary

We will study the brain circuitry that underlies our ability to understand speech in a noisy environment by investigating how the cortex and the thalamus work together to enhance brain activity related to sounds.

We will use animals in our experiments to measure brain activity at a level of detail that is not possible in humans, and we will use new techniques allowing us to directly manipulate the activity of specific brain cells using light. By examining brain activity while animals are performing an auditory task, we can determine how that activity changes when attention is focused on different sounds. We can then determine how these changes depend on the activity of different types of brain cells by using light to activate or suppress activity in these cells during the task.

Our findings will help us understand our ability to understand speech in noisy environments and allow us to suggest directions for the development of therapies to improve speech understanding in people with hearing impairment.