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John c Middlebrooks

Professor, Otolaryngology
School of Medicine

Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior
School of Biological Sciences

Professor, Cognitive Sciences
School of Social Sciences

B.S., California Institute of Technology, 1976, Biology

Ph.D., UC San Francisco, 1982, Neuroscience

Post-Doc, Stanford University, 1985, Neuroscience

Phone: (949) 824-0119
Email: j.midd@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
Medical Sciences D, room D404
Mail Code: 5310
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of John c  Middlebrooks

Hearing Research; Neurophysiology; Psychophysics; Auditory Prosthesis; Computational Neuroscience; Auditory Cortex
Our research addresses the brain mechanisms of hearing. There are three projects ongoing.

(1) Spatial Hearing: We are exploring the auditory cortical mechanisms that enable a listener to pick a sound out of a complex auditory scene on the basis of the sound’s location. Our recent experiments have demonstrated that the spatial selectivity of cortical neurons can sharpen dramatically when an animal is actively engaged in a sound-localization task compared to when it is idle. Parallel human psychophysical and animal physiological experiments are demonstrating that single cortical neurons can synchronize selectively to one of two sound sequences from closely separated locations under conditions in which a human listener would report two segregated “streams”.

(2) Cochlear Implants: We are characterizing brain responses to cochlear implants that are similar to clinical devices used to restore hearing to deaf people. In our animal studies, we are quantifying transmission of temporal information from an implant to the auditory cortex. Ongoing studies seek to evaluate plasticity in the auditory pathway in response to long-term deafness and electrical stimulation.

(3) Auditory Nerve Electrode Arrays: We are testing the feasibility of a new mode of hearing replacement using arrays of electrodes implanted in the auditory nerve. Our short-term studies in anesthetized animals have shown substantial improvements compared to conventional cochlear implants. Ongoing studies will assess safety and efficacy of long-term stimulation in chronically implanted animals prior to eventual human trials.

Experimental approaches used in the lab include human and animal psychophysics, and single-unit neurophysiology in anesthetized and awake/behaving animals.
Publications Lee, C-C, Middlebrooks, JC: Auditory cortex spatial sensitivity sharpens during task performance. Nature Neurosci, 14:108-114, 2011
  Kirby, AE, and Middlebrooks, JC: Auditory temporal acuity probed with cochlear implant stimulation and cortical recording. J Neurophysiology 103:531-542, 2010.
  Middlebrooks, JC and Snyder, RL: Selective electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve activates a pathway specialized for high temporal acuity. J Neurosci, 30:1937-1946, 2010.
  Middlebrooks, JC: Auditory cortex phase locking to amplitude-modulated cochlear-implant pulse trains. J Neurophysiol, 100:76-91, 2008.
  Middlebrooks, JC, and Snyder, RL: Auditory prosthesis with a penetrating nerve array, JARO 8: 258-279, 2007.
  Stecker, GC, Harrington, IA, Macpherson, EA, and Middlebrooks, JC: Spatial sensitivity in the dorsal zone (DZ) of cat auditory cortex, J. Neurophysiol. 94:1267-1280, 2005.
  Stecker GC, Harrington IA, Middlebrooks, JC: Location coding by opponent neural populations in the auditory cortex. PLoS Biol 3(3): 520-528(e78), 2005.
  Middlebrooks, JC: Effects of cochlear-implant pulse rate and inter-channel timing on channel interactions and thresholds, J. Acoust. Soc. Am, 116:452-468, 2004.
  Mickey, BJ, and Middlebrooks, JC: Representation of auditory space by cortical neurons in awake cats, J. Neurosci., 23:8649-8663, 2003.
  Macpherson, EA, and Middlebrooks, JC: Listener weighting of cues for lateral angle: the duplex theory of sound localization revisited, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 111:2219-2236, 2002.
  Bierer, JA, and Middlebrooks, JC: Auditory cortical images of cochlear-prosthesis stimuli: Dependence on electrode configuration, J. Neurophysiol. 87: 478-492, 2002.
  Xu, L, Furukawa, S, and Middlebrooks, JC: Auditory cortical responses in the cat to sounds that produce spatial illusions, Nature 399:688-691, 1999.
  Middlebrooks, JC, Xu, L, Eddins, AC and Green, DM: Codes for sound-source location in non-tonotopic auditory cortex, J Neurophysiol 80:863-881, 1998.
  Middlebrooks, JC, Clock AE, Xu L, Green DM: A panoramic code for sound location by cortical neurons. Science 264:842-844, 1994.
Grants NIDCD RO1 DC000420: Cortical Representation of Auditory Space
NIDCD RO1 DC04312: Cortical and Behavioral Responses to Cochlear Implants
NIDCD contract N263-2009-00024C: Feasibility of an Intraneural Auditory Prosthesis Stimulating Electrode Array
Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO)
Acoustical Society of America
Society for Neuroscience
Graduate Programs Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program

Research Centers Center for Hearing Research
Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
Link to this profile http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=5645
Last updated 02/28/2011