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Principal Investigator

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Prof. Frédéric Theunissen.

I was born in Belgium and raised in Belgium, Spain and the United States. I fell in love with mathematics, physics, biology and philosophy in french high school. I am also a UC product. I got my B.S. in physics and my Ph.D. in biophysics from UC Berkeley and did my post-doctoral work at UC San Francisco. I am fascinated by the brain, sounds and perception. I enjoy teaching computational methods for the next generation of social and biological scientists.

e-mail: Phone: (510) 643-1531


Post-Doctoral Fellows

Julie Elie

Dr. Julie Elie

I'm a french neuroethologist who loves to investigate animal behavior from the level of the neural mechanisms to the level of behavior. Vocal communication in birds has been my main topics for these last 5 years. I enjoy both field studies and laboratory work. I also really enjoy sharing my knowledge in Biology and research discoveries. Teaching and monitoring students along their own scientific paths is , I think, an important and rewardful duty of any academic researcher.



Graduate Students

Wendy de Heer Picture

Wendy de Heer

I am interested in perception: how our brains process sound in general, and speech in particular. My dissertation project involves building encoding and decoding models of human brain activity (using fMRI) in response to spoken stories.

Before coming to UC Berkeley, I lived in Paris for two years, where I finished a master's degree in Cognitive Science at the Ecole Normale Supérieure under the supervision of Daniel Pressnitzer. My master's research focussed on auditory bistability. My undergraduate degree at Cornell was interdisciplinary, blending mathematics with a broad liberal arts education.


Tyler Lee Picture

Tyler Lee

I am currently a graduate student in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute being advised by Frederic Theunissen and Bruno Olshausen. I have a BS in Neuroscience with a minor in Mathematics from UCLA where I worked with Dean Buonomano on how recurrent neural networks code time-varying stimuli.

I am interested, broadly, in how the brain processes and infers details about the natural world. The natural world is full of structure that the brain takes advantage of in constructing a model of reality. My current research interests are centered on how the brain, or models performing similar functions to the brain, can utilize the structure inherent in natural sounds to segregate sound sources within an auditory scene.


Mike Schachter Pict

Mike Schachter

I investigate the encoding of auditory information in the higher level auditory areas of the Zebra Finch. More specifically, I work with electrophysiology data generated by the excellent mind and experiments of Julie Elie (see above), and explore what kinds of information the spatio-temporal patterns of local field potentials encode about the full repertoire of natural Zebra Finch calls.

From a Machine Learning perspective, I work heavily with generalized linear models and neural networks. I am fascinated by recurrent neural networks and apply them to both classification and regression problems that involve encoding neural information from stimuli, as well as decoding auditory information from neural data.

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Solveig Mouterde

I was born and raised in France. After finishing my veterinarian studies, I spent a year in New Zealand at Waikato University, studying penguins behavior as part of my vet thesis. What was supposed to be an interlude in my vet career ended up to be a turning point, as I decided to keep on with research and started a PhD on vocal communication in songbirds at Université Jean Monnet, France. I am spending a year in the Theunissen lab as a visiting student researcher to work on neurophysiology as part of my research project.

email: Phone: (510) 643-1531



Lab Alumni