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Stefan Everling

Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology
Western University
London, Ontario, Canada
Website : www.everling-lab.org
Twitter : @stefan_everling


Vocalization-related activity in the anterior cingulate cortex


Stefan Everling, Ph.D., serves as a professor of physiology and pharmacology at the University of Western Ontario. Born in 1968, he pursued his studies in Biology and Psychology at the University of Bremen, where he also earned his Dr.rer.nat. After completing postdoctoral training under Dr. Douglas Munoz at Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, and a position at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, Dr. Everling joined the University of Western Ontario as an Assistant Professor, eventually rising to the rank of Full Professor

Dr. Everling's research investigates the neural basis of attention, cognitive control, and decision-making processes. Employing electrophysiological recordings and functional magnetic resonance imaging in nonhuman primates, his laboratory investigates both local and lagre-scale neural circuits that support these functions. In 2016, the team broadened their scope, incorporating marmosets alongside macaque monkeys in their studies.


The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is central to high-order cognitive functions, with dysfunctions in these regions associated with various neuropsychiatric disorders. While research in the PFC has focused on visual cognition, it is in fact audition that exhibits a significantly more extensive representation within the PFC.  The strongest interconnections with auditory cortices are not with lateral PFC but with medial PFC. Surprisingly, little is known about the activity of mPFC neurons in response to auditory stimuli. To bridge this gap, we use the common marmoset, a highly vocal New World primate, as an additional nonhuman primate model. With its well-characterized auditory cortex, lissencephalic structure suitable for electrode implants, and amenability to ultra-high field preclinical fMRI, the marmoset provides an excellent model for studying the mPFC-auditory network. Our recent studies employing whole-brain ultra-high field fMRI at 9.4T, supported by high-density Neuropixels recordings, have revealed strong activations for conspecific vocalizations area 32.  In this talk, I will elaborate on the methodologies we have employed, our findings, and the implications for our understanding of vocal processing in primates. The findings lay the groundwork for future invasive manipulative studies, promising to fill longstanding gaps in understanding of the neural basis of auditory attention and vocal communication in primates.