Maria Ji

Investigating the Egyptian Fruit Bat as a Mammalian Model for Vocal Learning

Vocal learning is the ability to produce vocalizations using auditory feedback to guide learning. Vocal learning has been explored extensively in songbirds and humans, but never within a tractable mammalian model species. By using two approaches, mapping vocal motor pathways and identifying auditory networks, I aim to investigate the neural circuitry of vocal learning in Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus). From a systems neuroscience perspective, my research will reveal mammalian neuroanatomical underpinnings and build the foundations for a mammalian model system of vocal learning. My findings will elucidate the mechanisms driving vocal learning in bats and have strong applications towards supporting research related to the pathologies of human speech and language disorders.

Message to Sponsor

Dear Pergo Fund Donor, I am extremely grateful to you and the Pergo Fund for allowing me to pursue a rewarding experience in research this summer. Through the SURF fellowship, I have been able to acquire and refine key research skills, while also furthering my passions in neuroscience research. This opportunity has allowed me to learn outside of the classroom and gain valuable mentorship opportunities. The support from the Pergo Fund has made a lasting impact on my undergraduate experience and is an investment into my future endeavors. Thank you, Maria Ji
  • Major: Psychology
  • Sponsor: Pergo L&S
  • Mentor: Michael Yartsev