Exploring the neural basis of auditory processing and perception in health and disease
Sensory perception may appear like a straightforward process. The sensory stimulus is detected, and its characteristics are passed “forward”. However, perception is shaped by numerous factors, ranging from our surroundings to our emotional state. For instance, the sound of approaching footsteps is perceived as safe when walking down a well-lit street but as dangerous when walking down a dark alley.
Understanding how sound is transformed into a sensory experience requires studying all levels of resolution- from the molecular mechanisms to the organism’s behavior. To achieve this, we study brain activity and network connectivity as mice engage in auditory perceptual tasks. Our goal is to understand the link between auditory sensation and perception; and how changes in auditory perception can sometimes improve our daily decision-making, while other times distort the neural representation of sensory stimuli, contributing to sensory and mental health disorders.
Dr. Jennifer Resnik
Jennifer received her B.Sc. in Life and Medical Sciences from Tel Aviv University. She then obtained her Masters and Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute of Science. During her Ph.D. in Prof. Rony Paz’s Lab, she studied mechanisms underlying stimulus generalization, especially when they entail an aversive outcome, such as PTSD. After graduating, Jennifer moved to Boston to pursue her postdoctoral studies with Prof. Danial Polley at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School. In the Polley lab, she studied compensatory mechanisms in the adult auditory system.
In 2020 Jennifer returned to Israel to start her own lab in the Life Sciences Department at Ben-Gurion University. Jennifer’s goal is to understand how, on the one hand, the remarkable malleability of the adult brain can be harnessed to respond appropriately to the full range of sensory stimuli we encounter throughout our lives, and how, on the other hand, it can lead to debilitating sensory and mental health disorders.
Building 39 Rooms 214-216
Department of Life Sciences
Ben Gurion University, Be’er-Sheva, Israel