Lehigh University
R. Michael Burger, Ph.D., Lehigh University


I am grateful to several funding agencies who have supported my work.


R01 DC 008989 Efferent inhibitory mechanisms in binaural processing

This 5 year grant is the mainstay of my laboratory providing over $365,000 per year in total support. Funds support research aimed at understanding the role of inhibitory feedback network in the auditory brainstem. In both birds and mammals, the neural centers involved in sound localization receive inhibitory efferents from higher order nuclei. In birds, inhibitory feedback to the cochlear nuclei and binaural NL arise from a distinct pair of nuclei residing just ventral to the second and third order nuclei. This elegantly arranged system in birds provides a unique opportunity to gain a mechanistic and holistic understanding of the role of inhibitory efferents in a functionally well defined circuit of the auditory system. The long-term goal of the study is to further our understanding of the contribution of efferent feedback to sound localization. These studies will enhance understanding of the central mechanisms of binaural processing, and this information may contribute to refinements of treatment strategies for the hearing impaired and in particular, bilaterally treated cochlear implant recipients.


Deafness Research Foundation

DRF Research Grant “Efferent Function in Sound Localization Processing”

This 1 year grant supported pilot studies in 2007-2008 that directly led to support from the NIH. These studies form the basis of the research described above.


Biosystems Dynamics Summer Institute

This funding provided to me through a Howard Hughes Medical Institute sponsored program at Lehigh University supported investigation into the role of synaptic modulators in the processing of sound location cues. We utilized both cell physiological and computational modeling approaches to explore the contribution of GABAB receptors to neural processes that allow animals and humans to discriminate arrival time differences between the ears at the level of microseconds. This incredibly precise computational process allows all animals to determine sound source location.

I also received additional support from this program to develop a neurophysiology lab course, which will teach students state of the art electrophysiological techniques.


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