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Prof. Dr. Catherine Emily Carr


Catherine Carr is Professor of Biology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She earned her B.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Cape Town in 1977, her M.A. in Biology from State University New York at Buffalo in 1978, her Ph. D. in Neuroscience from University of California at San Diego in 1984, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at California Institute of Technology in 1987. Her research focuses on neural coding and brain evolution. At the Marine Biological Laboratory, Dr. Carr taught in the Neural Systems and Behavior course from 1995 and was Co-Director from 2000-2004. From 2005-2008 she was the Grass Foundation Lab director, and has served on the MBL Science Council from 2005-2011. She has taught in SONA courses, and IBRO courses in Argentina and Uruguay. She is currently liaison from the SFN IAC committee. She also serves as Action Editor for the Journal of Neurophysiology.

Personal statement

The microsecond temporal precision shown by auditory systems is essential for the location and decoding of sound. This grant examine the neural circuits that encode and process temporal information in the barn and other birds and reptiles in order to identify shared general features of auditory coding. The overall scope of the current grant is to investigate spatial auditory function in the avian brainstem circuits.

Professional Preparation

BSc (hons.) Zoology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town RSA, 1976
MS Biology, State Univ. New York at Buffalo, 1978
PhD Neuroscience, Univ. California at San Diego, 1984
Neuroethology, California Inistitute of Technology, 1987


1984-1987 National Research Service Award fellow, Division of Biology, Caltech, Pasadena, CA
1987-1990 Assistant Professor of Neurobiology & Anatomy, Univ Rochester, Rochester, NY
1990-1995 Assistant Professor of Zoology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
1999- Professor of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Collaborators & Other Affiliations:

Dr. Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard, Odense Univ
Dr. Richard Kempter Humboldt Univ, Berlin
Dr. Christine Koppl, Univ Oldenburg
Dr. Katrina MacLeod, Univ of Maryland
Dr. Cynthia Moss, Univ of Maryland
Dr. Yezhong Tang, Chinese Acad Sci.
Dr. Leo van Hemmen, TU Muenchen
Dr. Hermann Wagner, Univ Aachen


Graduate Advisors and Postdoctoral Sponsors

Walter Heiligenberg (deceased)
Mark Konishi CalTech

Thesis Advisor and Postgraduate-Scholar Sponsor

Recently completed doctoral students: Daphne Soares, Ph.D. (NACS 2003), Suchitra Iyer, Ph.D. (NACS, 2002), Shih Min Cheng (Biology, 2005), Chris Glaze (NACS 2008).

Recently completed postdoctoral fellows: Rebecca Code (Univ Ohio), Fabiana Kubke (Univ Auckland), Satoshi Amagai (HHMI), Katrina MacLeod (Univ of Maryland), Dr Jonathan Simon (Univ Maryland).

Current Research Group: Postdocs: Hilary Bierman, Ph.D. Biology (Univ Chicago, 2006), Go Ashida (Kyoto University).

PhD students: Katie Willis, Sara Crowell.

Synergistic Activities

· Administration: 2000-2005 Co-Director, Neurobiology & Behavior course, Woods Hole. 2001-2005 Director, Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Program, UMd. 2001-2006 Co-Director Graduate and Postdoctoral Training Program in Neuroethology, University of Maryland. 2006-2008 Director Grass lab, MBL Woods Hole. 2009- Director Physiological Systems graduate program Univ Maryland.

· Community and international outreach: 2006 Faculty, IBRO Neuroscience School in Africa. 2009 Faculty, XIV Latin American School of Neuroscience. 2010 Faculty, III Latin American school of Neuroethology. 2008- Member of the IBRO equipment committee.

· Editorial work and review committees: Journal of Neurophysiology (action editor), Journal of Computational Neuroscience (action editor), Brain, Behavior and Evolution and Biological Cybernetics. Review committees: Sloan foundation neuroscience awards, BNBF Bernstein awards, Howard Hughes investigator reviews.

· Honors: Humboldt Senior Research Fellow, Technical Univ Muenchen (2004); Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (1988); Society for Neuroethology prize for an outstanding paper by a Young Investigator (1987).

· Workshops and Meetings: Program Committee of the J. B. Johnstone Club (1991-1993). Program Committee for the 4th Meeting in 1997 of the International Society for Neuroethology, Program Committee for the Society for Neuroscience (1993-1996), Program Committee for the Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting (CNS*94 and 95), Secretary, International Society for Neuroethology (1996-1999), Program Committee for the Society for Neuroscience (2002-2005), 2008 chair of Gordon conference on Neuroethology: Behavior, evolution & neurobiology (with Paul Katz), Chair, minisymposium at the 2009 Society for Neuroscience.


Carr CE, Macleod KM. 2010 Microseconds matter. PLoS Biol. 2010 Jun 29;8(6):e1000405

Schnupp, JWH and Carr CE 2009. On hearing with more than one ear: lessons from evolution. Nature Neurosci. 12:692-697

Carr CE, Soares D, Smolders J and Simon JZ. 2009. Detection of interaural time differences in the alligator. J. Neurosci. 29:7978-90.

Wagner H, Brill S, Kempter R, Carr CE 2009 Auditory responses in the barn owl's nucleus laminaris to clicks: impulse response and signal analysis of neurophonic potential. J Neurophysiol.102:1227-40.

Köppl, C. and Carr, CE. 2008. A Map of Interaural Time Differences in the Chicken's Brainstem. Biological Cybernetics 2008 98:541-59.

Carr, CE and Edds-Walton, P. 2008. Vertebrate Auditory Pathways. In: Handbook of the Senses Volume 1. Audition. Eds. Hoy, R, Dallos, P and Oertel, D (eds) Elsevier, Oxford.

Macleod KM, Carr CE. 2007. Beyond timing in the auditory brainstem: intensity coding in the avian cochlear nucleus angularis. Prog Brain Res. 165:123-33.

Cheng SM, Carr CE. 2007. Functional delay of myelination of auditory delay lines in the nucleus laminaris of the barn owl. Dev Neurobiol. 67:1957-74.

Macleod KM, Horiuchi TK, Carr CE. 2007 A role for short-term synaptic facilitation and depression in the processing of intensity information in the auditory brainstem. J Neurophysiol. 97:2863-74

Macleod KM, Soares, D, Carr CE. 2006 Interaural timing difference circuits in the auditory brainstem of the emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae). J. Comp Neurol. 495:185-201

Grothe B, CE Carr, J Cassedy, B Fritzsch, C Köppl 2005 Brain pathway evolution and neural processing patterns - parallel evolution? In: Evolution of the Vertebrate Auditory System Springer Handbook of Auditory Research. Ed. Manley, Popper and Fay. Springer, New York

Wagner H, Brill S, Kempter R, Carr CE. 2005 Microsecond precision of phase delay in the auditory system of the barn owl. J Neurophysiol. 94:1655-8

Macleod KM, Carr CE. 2005 Synaptic physiology in the cochlear nucleus angularis of the chick. J Neurophysiol. 93(5):2520-9.

Carr CE, Koppl C.2004 Coding interaural time differences at low best frequencies in the barn owl. J Physiol Paris. 98:99-112.

Köppl, C. and C. E. Carr. 1997 A pathway for low frequency sound in the brainstem of the barn owl. J. Comp. Neurol. 378:265-282

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