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Graduate Neuroscience program


Karagh Murphy

I am interested in the functional role of sensory and motor feedback in behavioral learning, specifically speech. Our lab uses songbirds as an animal model to understand the underlying speech circuits dedicated to learned vocalizations. I am currently trying to understand the motor feedback loop used for the comparison of intended vocalization with performed auditory feedback and the plasticity changes involved in a mismatch between sensory and motor integration. 


Jeffery Dunning

My dissertation work is aimed at understanding how the brain uses signals in the environment to shape our decisions and guide behavior.  Our laboratory uses the courtship behaviors of songbirds to model this decision-making process, in which females carefully choose males based on the quality of his song.  The goal of my research is to investigate what makes certain songs attractive, how attractive songs are represented in the auditory cortex, and through what pathways in the brain are these signals used to guide behavior.  I use behavioral assays, tract-tracing and optogenetic techniques to help gain new insight into the cognition involved in mate selection of songbirds with the hope to reveal new ideas of the mechanisms underlying human decision-making.

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