Dr. Feng and his students and postdocs study the neural basis of sound communication, using the frog and bat auditory systems as models. These animals communicate by sounds in acoustically complex environments. Male frogs produce advertisement calls in large choruses, and females must localize and identify the callers based on the spectro-temporal characteristics of males' vocalizations. Current research focuses on determining the mechanisms underlying extraction of signals in complex auditory scenes. Echolocating bats rely on analysis of echoes of their sonar emissions to determine the location and identity of objects along their flight paths, and to discriminate preys from obstacles, as well as stationary from moving objects. The current focus is on determining the roles of neural oscillation in time domain information processing. Their research is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.
Dr. Feng is also active in translational research. A recent project involved transferring knowledge of biological signal processing strategies to guiding the design of intelligent hearing aids. This interdisciplinary team at the Beckman Institute developed advanced hearing aid technologies with the ability to extract sound embedded in noise. He currently leads a team of researchers that is pursuing the development of biomolecular high-resolution cochlear implants.
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MNTL 1000, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL