Karina Cramer

cramerkOur research addresses the assembly of circuitry in the auditory system. In this system, information from the cochlea is transmitted to the brainstem through the auditory nerve. This input is arranged in a tonotopic manner, so that at each level of processing there is an orderly representation of best frequencies. In addition, precision in auditory circuitry is needed to locate sound sources. In birds, nucleus magnocellularis (NM) neurons receive auditory nerve input and project to nucleus laminaris (NL) on both sides of the brain. NL neurons are concidence detectors that have symmetric dorsal and ventral dendrites. The dorsal dendrites receive input from ipsilateral NM while the ventral dendrites receive input in delay lines from contralateral NM. This pathway is used to compute interaural time differences for low frequency sound localization. We are studying how these nuclei and their precise connections form during development and how they might subsequently undergo plasticity. Characterization of these mechanisms will improve our understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders that affect auditory function and communication, and will provide insight into mechanisms of brain recovery after injury.

Lab Website

UCI Faculty Profile