Michael Yartsev

2017 Fellow

Current Institution: University of California, Berkeley


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About Michael Yartsev's Work

Our lab seeks to understand the neural basis of complex spatial and acoustic behaviors in mammals. To do so, we use one of the most spatially and acoustically sophisticated mammals on our planet – the echolocating bat. In the spatial domain, we take advantage of the bat’s ability to elegantly navigate during high-speed flight and under varying levels of spatial complexity. In the acoustic domain, we use the bat’s sonar (echolocation) and social communication signals to understand how these are learned and later used during natural behavior. Bats possess a unique capacity for vocal learning which allows studying its brain mechanisms for the first time in the mammalian brain. We further develop technologies for monitoring neural activity and optogenetic control in freely behaving and flying bats and apply those to our investigations of neural circuits. Taking this approach, we aim to uncover core principles of brain function that are general across mammals.

Awards and Achievements

NIH New Innovator Award

Sloan Fellowship

Brain Research Foundation

New York Stem Cell Foundation

McKnight Foundation

Searle Scholars Program

Klingenstein Foundation

Brain Initiative EAGER

Award Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Human Frontiers Fellowship

The Pew Fellowship