Florida State University

Dr. Richard Hyson

R. Bruce Masterton Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience
PDB B427


Our research addresses the fundamental question of how experience influences the nervous system. Sensory experience has a dramatic influence on the development of the nervous system and determines what organisms learn. We seek to understand the cellular underpinnings of such experience-dependent plasticity in the brain. We also examine basic science questions related to how the brain encodes acoustic information and how it encodes complex sequences of behavior. These interests are combined in our work on the neural plasticity that occurs during the learning of birdsong.
Current Research
To examine how the brain encodes acoustic information, we use of a slice preparation of the avian auditory brainstem. Whole cell patch clamp methods allow us to study the physiological properties of auditory neurons and the synaptic pharmacology of the neuronal circuitry. We also examine the effects of deafness on the developing auditory system. Early deafness results in the neuronal death and atrophy. Somehow, auditory experience keeps these neurons healthy. We are attempting to identify the important activity-dependent signal(s) for cell survival in this system and determine the cellular mechanisms of their action. Also, as part of a collaborative project (with Johnson, Bertram and Wu labs), we examine how the brain codes a complex sequence of behavior (the bird’s song) and the neural plasticity that occurs while this behavior is learned. Our lab uses a brain slice preparation of brain areas that are involved in the learning and production of birdsong. We examine the physiological properties of neurons in this circuit as we seek to discover the learning-related changes in these properties that play a role in song production.
Recent Publications
Bertram R, Hyson RL, Brunick AJ, Flores D, Johnson F (2020). Network dynamics underlie learning and performance of birdsong. Curr Opin Neurobiol, 64:119-126. PubMed
Brown DH, Hyson RL (2019). Intrinsic physiological properties underlie auditory response diversity in the avian cochlear nucleus. J Neurophysiol, 121(3):908-927. PubMed
Ross MT, Flores D, Bertram R, Johnson F, Wu W, Hyson RL (2019). Experienace-Dependent Intrinsic Plasticity During Auditory Learning. Neurosci, 39(7):1206-1221. PubMed
Ross MT, Flores D, Bertram R, Johnson F, Wu W, Hyson RL (2019). Experience-Dependent Intrinsic Plasticity During Auditory Learning. J Neurosci, 39(7):1206-1221. PubMed
Shaughnessy DW, Hyson RL, Bertram R, Wu W, Johnson F (2019). Female zebra finches do not sing yet share neural pathways necessary for singing in males. J Comp Neurol, 527(4):843-855. PubMed
Carroll BJ, Bertram R, Hyson RL (2018). Intrinsic physiology of inhibitory neurons changes over auditory development. J Neurophysiol, 119(1):290-304. PubMed
Galvis D, Wu W, Hyson RL, Johnson F, Bertram R (2018). Interhemispheric dominance switching in a neural network model for birdsong. J Neurophysiol, 1186-1197. PubMed
Elliott KC, Wu W, Bertram R, Hyson RL, Johnson F (2017). Orthogonal topography in the parallel input architecture of songbird HVC. J Comp Neurol, 525(9):2133-2151. PubMed
Galvis D, Wu W, Hyson RL, Johnson F, Bertram R (2017). A distributed neural network model for the distinct roles of medial and lateral HVC in zebra finch song production. J Neurophysiol, 118(2):677-692. PubMed
Ross MT, Flores D, Bertram R, Johnson F, Hyson RL (2017). Neuronal Intrinsic Physiology Changes During Development of a Learned Behavior. eNeuro, 4(5):ENEURO.0297-17.2017. PubMed
Call CL, Hyson RL (2016). Activity-dependent regulation of calcium and ribosomes in the chick cochlear nucleus. Neuroscience, 316:201-8. PubMed
Carroll BJ, Hyson RL (2016). A Role for Inhibition in Deafness-Induced Plasticity of the Avian Auditory Brainstem. Neuroscience, 327:10-9. PubMed

All Publications PubMed

Lab Website

Neuro Grads and Postdocs

Amanda Brunick, Graduate Student

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