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"Neurobiological Investigation of Vocal Production Learning in the Mammalian Brain" by Michael Yartsev, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurobiology and Engineering New York Stem Cell Foundation - Robertson Investigator Helen Wills Institute of Neuroscience Graduate Program UC Berkeley-UCSF Graduate Program in Bioengineering University of California at Berkeley

Event Type
bat, language aquisition, neuroscience, songbird, vocal learning
Neuroscience Program
Beckman Institute, Room 1005
Dec 11, 2018   4:00 - 5:00 pm  
Michael Yartsev
Justin Rhodes
Originating Calendar
Neuroscience Program Seminars

Learning a language is generally considered the crown jewel of human abilities. Yet the core question of ‘What is it about the human mammalian brain that allows us to learn our language?’, remains unresolved. In humans, language acquisition is mediated by a process called ‘vocal learning’. While humans are expert vocal learners, a remarkably sparse subset of mammals share this capacity and as a result, the neurobiological mechanisms of vocal learning were never studied before in the mammalian brain. To complement the remarkable research work done in the songbird and help bridge this major gap of knowledge we set out to establish the bat as a mammalian model system for studying the neurobiological mechanism of vocal learning. Here, I will present our initial efforts towards achieving this goal which included overcoming major roadblock due to the near complete absence of research efforts in this domain in mammals.

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