JHU biomedical engineering primary faculty

Eric D. Young, PhD

Eric D. Young, PhD

Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Neuroscience, and Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery

Office: Traylor 505
Lab: Neural Encolding Lab


Postdoc, Univ. of Chicago, 1975
PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 1972
BS, California Institute of Technology, 1967

Research Interests

My lab works on the representation of the acoustic environment in the brain and the effects of hearing impairment on that representation. Neural information processing is one of the grand challenges for the near future because of the inherent difficulty of the problem on both theoretical and experimental grounds. We are attempting to find general ways to describe the neural representation of sound and the flow of information about sounds within the brain.

One approach to neural information processing is to build predictive models of the response properties of neurons. We have applied this approach in two ways. First, we have constructed functional models of the signal processing in auditory processing centers by working out the synaptic interactions among neurons that transform inputs into outputs. This is necessarily data-intensive, involving recording neural activity in response to auditory stimuli and inferring neural organization from the patterns of neural response and their modification by pharmacological manipulations and electrical stimulation. Second, we are developing abstract system-theoretic and information-theoretic models of neural input/output relationships which can be applied at multiple levels of the auditory system.

Hearing impairment resulting from sound exposure, environmental toxins, or genetic defects is a disabling condition that affects millions of people. We are attempting to improve the understanding of common types of hearing impairment by investigating how the impairment affects neural information processing in the auditory system. In one approach, we are designing signal processing algorithms to restore normal neural representations of sounds in the auditory nerve. In a second, we are studying the secondary changes in neural processing which occur in the brain after damage to the auditory input. Both efforts have direct application to auditory prosthesis.

Selected Publications

Slee, S.J. and Young, E.D. Linear processing of interaural level difference underlies spatial tuning in the nucleus of the brachium of the inferior colliculus. J. Neuroscience 33:3891-904 (2013).

Yu, J.J. and Young, E.D. Frequency response areas in the inferior colliculus: nonlinearity and binaural interaction. Front. Neural Circuits 7:90 (2013).

Kanold, P.O., Davis, K.A., and Young.E.D. Somatosensory context alters auditory responses in the cochlear nucleus. J. Neurophysiol. 105:1063-1070 (2011).

Nelson, P.C. and Young, E.D. Neural correlates of context-dependent perceptual enhancement in the inferior colliculus. J. Neuroscience 30:6577-87 (2010).

Cai, S., Ma W-L. D., and Young, E.D. Encoding intensity in ventral cochlear nucleus following acoustic trauma: Implications for loudness recruitment. JARO 10:5-22 (2009).

Young, E.D. and Sachs, M.B. Auditory nerve inputs to cochlear nucleus neurons studied with cross-correlation. Neuroscience 154:127-138 (2008).

Chase, S.M. and Young, E.D. First-spike latency information in single neurons increases when referenced to population onset. PNAS 104:5175-80 (2007).

Publications Search

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