Alan PalmerMRC Institute of Hearing Research, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK F1000 Faculty Member (since 23 February 2006)
Professor Alan Palmer is Director of the MRC Institute of Hearing Research
The central auditory nervous system consists of a series of nuclei from the cochlear nucleus up to the auditory cortex and the aim of the neurophysiological group is elucidate its structure and function. We employ anatomical and single and multiple electrode neurophysiological methods separately and in combination to investigate two interrelated aspects of these projection pathways. Firstly, we are concerned with the function of neurones in the auditory pathway with respect to various auditory abilities known from animal behavioural and human psychophysical studies. Secondly, we combine various neurophysiological measures with detailed anatomical cell-filling and tract tracing methods to determine the connectivity. The range of techniques and preparations that we have developed, and will be developing, allow us to select the most appropriate to address any specific scientific question. My own expertise is in auditory neurophysiology involving signal processing, signal detection and various microelectrode recording techniques such as iontophoresis, single cell filling, anatomical reconstructions and staining. Over recent years, the neurophysiology section has published contributions to our understanding of binaural processing and the organisation of the auditory cortex. We have described the physiological mechanisms underlying binaural unmasking and have detailed the connectivity and responsiveness of several cortical areas. Our data have also contributed to a re-evaluation of the basic mechanisms responsible for the processing of interaural time differences: a major cue for human sound localisation.
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