Michael Yartsev

2017 Fellow

Current Institution: University of California, Berkeley

Neuroscience

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About Michael Yartsev's Work

What is it about the human mammalian brain that allows us to learn our language? This is one of the most enigmatic and understudied questions in neuroscience history. The main challenge has been the striking sparsity of vocal learning abilities amongst mammalian species. For this simple reason the detailed neurobiological mechanisms that support this core human function were never studied before in the mammalian brain. Here, the Yartsev lab takes an entirely novel approach towards bridging this major gap of knowledge and will study this function in one of the only known vocal learning mammals: the bat. Their research program also combines the development of cutting edge and novel technologies that they have been implementing in the bat model system. Combined, they aim to uncover the mysterious neurobiological underpinning of language learning in the mammalian brain.