Shihab Shamma, Director

Ph.D., Stanford University, 1980

Research Interests: 
Dr. Shamma's research deals with the question of how the acoustic signal is represented at various levels of the mammalian auditory system. The research spans a wide range of disciplines and techniques, ranging from theoretical models of auditory processing the early and central auditory stages, to neurophysiological investigations of the auditory cortex, to psychoacoustical experiments of human perception of acoustic spectral profiles. These studies complement each other in that theoretical models are directly based on experimental data, and in turn the models motivates the experimental paradigms and analysis.



Jonathan Fritz, Associate Research Scientist

Ph.D., Brown University, 1995

Research Interests: 
The two broad topics of Dr. Fritz's current research are:

(1) task-related adaptive plasticity in auditory processing with a current focus of interest on behavioral physiology studies of ferret (and monkey) primary and secondary auditory cortices, and top-down influence of prefrontal cortex.

(2) neurobiology of auditory perception and memory, including psychophysical studies in the ferret at NSL, perceptual and behavioral lesion studies in the monkey at NIH with Mort Mishkin, PET and fMRI imaging studies of auditory processing in collaboration with Al Braun at NIH.



John Rinzel, Visiting Professor

Ph.D., New York University, 1973

Research Interests: 
Dr. Rinzel's research involves computational/theoretical modeling of various neuronal systems and covers a range of abstraction levels, from detailed biophysical cell-based models to mean-field models of networks. Of particular focus in the auditory system are: 1) using in-vitro electrophysiology and modeling, to understand the biophysical mechanisms in the auditory brain stem that underlie sound localization; 2) using psychophysics and modeling, to gain insight into aspects of auditory streaming, currently, that involve ambiguous stimuli.



Pingbo Yin, Post-doctoral Fellow

Ph.D., Institute of Physiology, Chinese Academy of Science, 1995

Research Interests: 
Pingbo's primary research interests focus on understanding the neural mechanisms that underlie auditory perception and memory.
The fundamental questions pursued are: how the sounds are perceived in auditory system? How the sounds perceived are encoded into memory? And how the sounds encoded in memory affects the sound perceiving? The ongoing behavioral neurophysiology studies are focusing on: 1) Neuronal correlates of auditory stream segregation and top-down effects (such as attention, memory) on stream segregation in primary auditory cortex; 2) Neuronal basis of rapid STRF changes occurred in the auditory system during auditory pattern discrimination (such as melody or tonal sequence).



Nik Francis, Post-doctoral Fellow

Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011

Research Interests: 
Nik studies how the nervous system enables listening. In the NSL, he uses electrophysiology to measure neural plasticity during changes in perceptual goals, acoustic contexts and task difficulties. The aim of his work is to understand the physiological basis of auditory attention.



Xinhui Zhou, Post-doctoral Fellow

Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 2009

Research Interests: 
Xinhui's interests are in speech production and auditory signal processing. He develops robust acoustic features inspired by human auditory signal processing (both in the early stage and in the cortical stage) with application to speech activity detection, speech intelligibility assessment, speaker recognition and speech recognition, particularly in noisy conditions.



Dana Strait, Post-doctoral Fellow

Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2012

Research Interests: 
Dana's doctoral research defined neurophysiological correlates of auditory expertise over development and their behavioral implications by studying musicians as a model of auditory learning. As a postdoctoal fellow at the University of Maryland, she aims to define cellular mechanisms that underlie auditory learning, including the time-course and manner by which higher auditory cognitive functions (e.g., attention) shape cellular response and receptive field properties in primary auditory and frontal cortices.



Kai Lu, Post-doctoral Fellow

Ph.D., Rutgers University, 2013

Research Interests: 
Kai Lu's current works are primarily driven by two questions: 1) how statistics of sounds in previous auditory experience modifies neural coding of incoming sounds; 2) how our brain segregates sounds into different streams, so that we can hear a distinct auditory object in a noisy background  



Dan Winkowski, past Post-doctoral Fellow

Ph.D., Temple University, Postdoc at Stanford University

Research Interests: 
Dan currently works as an Assistant Research Scientist in Patrick Kanold's lab at the University of Maryland.  



Kevin Donaldson, Ph.D. Candidate

Kevin is a graduate student in NACS program. He joined the Lab in 2006.



Majid Mirbagheri, Ph.D. Candidate

Majid is a graduate student in ECE program. He joined the Lab in 2008. His research interests include computational auditory scene analysis, speech signal processing and machine learning. He is currently working on sound segregation and speech enhancement methods inspired by computational models of human auditory system.



Sahar Akram, Graduate Student

Sahar is currently a graduate student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. Her main interests include investigation over underlying mechanisms of sound streaming in the brain and searching for neural correlates of this phenomena using Magnetoencephalography (MEG) techniques in humans. She joined the lab in September 2009, and is currently pursuing her PhD.



Diego Elgueda, Graduate Student

Diego joined the lab in the summer of 2010, when he entered the Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences Program. He is interested in the modulation of neural responses in the auditory system during attentional processes.



Lakshmi Krishnan, Graduate Student

Lakshmi Krishnan is a PhD student in Electrical Engineering. Her research interests are in computational auditory scene analysis.In the Neural Systems Lab she has been working on audio source separation and signal sequence labeling inspired by models of computation in the human auditory system.



Kevin Fan, Undergraduate Student

Kevin is an undergraduate in the Honors Integrated Life Science Program majoring in Neurobiology & Physiology and Business Management. In the Neural Systems Lab, he has been investigating auditory category representation and perception by training ferrets to discriminate between pure tones and broadband noises. He hopes to determine the boundary between the categories of tone and noise.



Daniel Frank, Undergraduate Student

Dan is originally from Canada but is now a sophomore at UMD majoring in Neurobiology and Physiology. In the lab he conducts behavioral experiments where animals perform a multi-range discrimination task with envelope modulated tones.



Alexander Yue, Undergraduate Student

Alex is a biology major. He is investigating the impact of locomotion on the behavior of mice undergoing auditory detection tasks.



Chelsea Robinson, Undergraduate Student

Chelsea is a neurobiology and physiology double major. She is performing histology on mouse tissue, looking for connections via a retrograde tracer from orbital frontal cortex to auditory cortex.



Garrett Hamilton, Undergraduate Student

Garrett is a sophomore Life Sciences College Park Scholar at UMD. He is a double degree candidate within the fiels of biological sciences: physiology and neurobiology, as well as psychology. He works in the mouse-specialized section of the Neural Systems Laboratory alonside graduate student Kevin Donaldson, primarily training the mice in tasks of tone detect as well as tone discrimination. He will also be conducting tissue analysis.



Emily Krohn, Undergraduate Student

Emily is bioengineering major and in the lab she trains mice on certain behavioral tasks in order to study neural responses in the auditory cortex.



Cynthia Gao, Undergraduate Student

Cynthia is a physiology and neurobiology double major and a sustainability minor at UMD.



Former members

Former Post-Doctoral Fellows

Bernhard Englitz (2010-2012), now Researcher at Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris

Stephen David (2005-2012), now assistant professor at Oregon Health Science University

N. Mesgarani (2008-2011), now post-doctoral fellow at UCSF

M. Elhilali (2004-2007), now assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University

D. Depireux (1997-2001), now assistant professor at University of Maryland

J. Simon (1997-2000), now assistant professor at University of Maryland

J. Lin (1997-1998)

K. Wang (1994-1997)

S. Vranic (1994)

P. Ru (1996-1997)

H. Versnel (1992-1995)

X. Yang (1989-1993)

J. Fleshman, (1985-1989)

Former Ph.D Students

Y. Xu (May 2013)

S. Atiani (May 2009)

T. Chi (May 2003)

N. Kanlis (Dec 2002)

P. Ru (Dec 1999), now at Cybits

T. Owens (June 1997)

N. Kowalski (June 1996), now at Nortel Networks

K. Wang (June 1994), now at Microsoft research

S. Vranic (Dec. 1993), now at Motorola

W. Byrne (Dec. 1993), now Associate Research Professor at Johns Hopkins

D. Lin (June 1993)

A. Teolis (June 1993) (Co-Advisor with J. Benedetto)

Former Masters Students

M. Locastro (Dec 2012)

J. Tulsi (June 2002)

S. Sudha (June 2002)

C. Sundarraman (June 2000)

D. Rapczynski (June 2000)

Y. Gao (Dec 1999)

T. Chi (June 1996)

T. Denison (June 1995)

T. Edwards (June 1993)

K. Etemad (June 1992)

G. Chettiar (June 1990)

A. Teolis (Dec 1989)

K. Wang (Dec 1989)

G. Klein (June 1989)

P. Gopalaswamy (Dec 1988)

M. Ouzidane (Aug 1988)

J. Virdy (May 1988)

M. Fermelo (May 1988)

L. Sellami (May 1988)

N. Shen (Dec 1987)

F. Hadjistamatiou (May 1987)

Former Research Assistants/Lab Managers

J. Snow (August 2013)

K. Yang (August 2013)

S. Chang (August 2012)

K. Nathan (August 2011)

Former Undergraduate Research Assistants (as of 2013)

A. Gradzka (November 2013)

J. Suh (November 2013)

E. Burnett (July 2013)

C. Burke (July 2013)

H. Lall (July 2013)

Last updated: August 21, 2012

Designed by Shin Chang