Auditory neuroscience group

Inside hamster ear

Seeing how we hear with optical flow calculations

Anders Fridberger’s research deals with sensory neuroscience – how the inner ear converts sound into electrical impulses in the auditory nerve. This conversion, which has fundamental importance for the sense of hearing, depends on small protrusions found at the tops of the sensory cells in the inner ear.

Corti Fridberger, inside hamster earTo study the function of these stereocilia, my research group has developed a new type of confocal microscope that makes it possible to directly observe sound-evoked motion - we can ”see how we hear” – and the size and direction of the movements is obtained through optical flow calculations.
By using this technique, we demonstrated that rapid length changes of stereocilia occur on a cycle-by-cycle basis during sound stimulation. These length changes are important for the ear’s ability to convert sound into electrical signals, and the mechanisms that regulate stereocilia length are now the subject of study in the lab.

When we listen to sounds near the threshold of hearing, the sound-evoked movements within the hearing organ are less than 1 billionth of a meter. It is not yet clear how the sensory cells can use such a tiny stimulus, and to be able to study this process, we also use laser interferometry, which can measure cellular vibrations at the Angstrom level.
Anders Fridberger workingFoto: Thor Balkhed
Loud sounds will alter the function of inner ear sensory cells, and the techniques mentioned above are also used for studying the physiological mechanisms underlying noise-induced hearing loss.
Medical treatments can protect sensory cells in animals, but we do not yet know whether this works in humans. In collaboration with the ENT clinics in Uppsala, Stockholm and Linköping, we started clinical trials of substances with potential inner-ear protective effects. If these treatments turn out to be effective, a protective treatment may become available for people exposed to loud sounds.
Laboratory workFoto: Thor Balkhed

Student? Apply!

We are happy to receive applications from students interested in our work, who would like to perform a master or doctoral thesis project or be a research assistant in the Auditory neuroscience laboratory.

We encourage students in pursuing a hearing physiology project involving physiological measurements using electrophysiological recordings combined with confocal imaging. Matlab or R programming building scripts for visualizing and analysis of scientific data is used. Minimum basic knowledge of R or Matlab and understanding of basic neuroscience and physiology and biophysics is appreciated.

See contact information below.

Principal investigator

Current members

Former members

A look into our lab

Laser interferometer integrated with Zeiss confocal LSM 5 Pascal (Equipped with PV-Pump HSPC-1 and PicoSpritzer).

Laser interferometer integrated Zeiss confocal LSM 5 Pascal (Equipped with PV-Pump HSPC-1 and PicoSpritzer).

Lab set up for auditory research at BKV, LiU.

Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope 780, Upright – Zeiss Axio Observer ( Equipped with Patch Clamp and Picospritzer)

Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope 780, Upright – Zeiss Axio Oberver (Equipped with Patch Clamp and PicoSpritzer).

Lab set up for auditory research at BKV, LiU.

In vivo physiological recordings (ABRs, CAPs, DPOAEs, Three-tone suppression and Zeiss surgical microscope.

In vivo physiological recordings - lab quipment.

Sonal Prasad with surgical microscope.