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Kerry Walker

DPhil, MSc, BSc

Early Career Research Fellow

Biography

Kerry Walker completed her undergraduate studies in her native Newfoundland (BSc hon., Memorial University), an MSc in Nova Scotia (Dalhousie University), and then her doctoral degree at Brasenose College, Oxford (DPhil, University of Oxford). She worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher for Prof Andrew King in the Auditory Neuroscience Group for 3 years. She is now running an independent research program within this group as a DPAG Early Career Research Fellow.

Her research examines the brain processes that allow humans and other animals to understand sounds, particularly communication sounds. It aims to identify the spiking events in auditory cortical neurons that form the brain's representations of various features of sounds. These features include: "pitch", which is the sound's tonal quality; the location of the sound source in space; the spectral characteristics we use to identify the sound source (e.g. a violin versus a piano); and the temporal properties of the sound, such as rhythm.

A range of techniques are used to understand these neural processes across multiple levels. The precise spiking responses of single neurons and small groups of neurons are measured extracellularly in anaesthetised and awake, behaving animals. The responses of larger populations of neurons are observed using in vivo 2-photon imaging of neural circuits. Finally, psychophysical studies are used to probe the listening capabilities of humans and animals.

This research is funded by the BBSRC and DPAG.

Kerry is also a Fellow of St. Catherine's College, where she serves as Director of Studies for Biomedical Sciences. In this role, she teaches undergraduate students in our Biomedical Sciences, Experimental Psychology, and Medicine programs.

More information on her research and teaching can be found here: www.physiol.ox.ac.uk/~kmmw.

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Key Publications

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Recent Publications

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