Josef P. Rauschecker
PhD 1980, Munich Institute of Technology
DSc 1985, (Neurophysiology) Tubingen University
New Research Building, WP-19
Dr. Rauschecker’s research interests are functional organization and plasticity in the central nervous system. His research aims to explicate the brain’s means of implementation for auditory perception and language. His laboratory is one of only a handful in the country engaged in the neurophysiology of auditory cortex in nonhuman primates. In parallel studies, he is using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in humans for the study of the neural bases of language, music, and other higher auditory processing. This work should lead to a deeper understanding of brain function in autism, dyslexia, aphasia, agnosia, and tinnitus, and more intelligently designed hearing aids and neural prostheses. In this context his laboratory is also interested in the effects of sensory deprivation during brain development, relating to the question of how the brain of individuals with early blindness or deafness gets reorganized. These studies of brain plasticity have relevance for the understanding of degenerative diseases of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
In this talk, Josef Rauschecker illuminates the science behind tinnitus as well as the current state of treatment options. Josef Rauschecker has 35 years of experience in systems and cognitive neuroscience, more than 25 years of experience in animal electrophysiology, and upwards of 15 years of experience with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). At Georgetown University Medical Center, he helped create the first human fMRI research facility. He has also held visiting appointments at several institutions, including Harvard Medical School, and has been the recipient of a Humboldt Award and a Finland Distinguished Professorship. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
“Some people call these phantom sensations, but they are real, produced by a brain that continues to ‘feel’ the initial injury because it cannot down-regulate the sensations enough, Rauschecker says. Both conditions are extraordinarily common, yet no treatment gets to the root of these disorders.”