• Robert C. Liu


    PI Background: I am a neuroscientist with a physics background, working at the intersection of the fields of auditory neuroethology and social neuroscience. I transitioned into neuroscience as a postdoc, working with systems neuroscientists at the University of California, San Francisco's Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology. After initially studying the visual system, I began a program to explore how neurons in the auditory system encode behaviorally relevant sounds, using a mouse model of acoustic communication. This work has now expanded into a general interest in neural plasticity and processing in social communication contexts. In particular, through collaborations at Emory, our research now explores how social information processing and reward are regulated in both a mouse model of maternal recognition of pup calls and a vole model of socially monagomous bonding.

Current Postdocs

  • Tamara Ivanova

    Scientific interests: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of immediate early gene expression in response to sound stimulation

  • Rudolph "Chip" Mappus

    Scientific interests:

  • Nina Banerjee

    Scientific interests: I am interested in understanding the interaction between the auditory cortex and limbic areas, such as the amygdala and ventral tegmental area, during the expression of maternal behaviors in mice. Within this framework, I would also like to understand the roles played by neuromodulators oxytocin and dopamine in the processing of pup calls by mothers.

Current Graduate Students

  • Katy Shepard (Emory Neuroscience)


    Scientific interests: I am interested in studying the hormonal control of animal communication and social behavior. Specifically, I would like to know how hormones and neuromodulators impact the processing of behaviorally relevant sounds in the auditory system.

  • Liz Ann Amadei (GA Tech BioMedical Engineering)

    Scientific interests: I am interested in the neural circuitry of social bonding. With Drs. Robert Liu and Larry Young at Emory, I am developing electrophysiological and optogenetic applications in the socially monogamous prairie vole to study how brain regions dynamically communicate during social interactions leading to bonding.

  • Alex Dunlap (GA Tech Bioengineering)

    Scientific interests: I am interested in studying how auditory cortical plasticity impacts decision processes and behavior.

  • Kelly Chong (GA Tech BioMedical Engineering)

    Scientific interests: I am interested in studying hormonal modulation of sound processing, and the molecular mechanisms responsible for changes in the electrophysiological properties of the auditory cortex following social experience.

  • Amielle Moreno (Emory Neuroscience)

    Scientific interests: I am interested in how an animal's social environment can lead to changes in genetic transcription, cellular activity and thus alter behavior. I'm currently researching the epigenetic regulation of genes in the auditory cortex and how maternal experience and hormonal exposure might change genetic transcription.

Current Undergraduate Students

  • Ankita Gumaste (Emory Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology)

    Scientific interests: I am interested in observing maternal behavioral responses to pup calls. In addition, I am interested in studying the effect of certain neuromodulators on plastic changes during an animal's development as well as in adulthood.

  • Aaron Shpiner (Emory Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology)

    Scientific interests:I am interested in studying the neural circuitry involved in social bonding behaviors using the socially monogamous prairie vole animal model.

Current Staff and Interns

Affiliated Lab Members

Former Lab Members

  • Alonzo Whyte

  • Frank Lin

  • Zachary Aberman

  • Malan Kern

  • Saket Kumar

  • Mary Catherine Stoumbos

  • Edgar Galindo-Leon

  • Tatsuya Oishi

  • Imke Kirste

  • Andrew Matthews

  • Jason Miranda

  • Ameya Save

  • Stephen Brink

  • Sara Freeman

  • Brian Kocher

  • Steven Sangha

  • Yongkui Zhang

  • Huey Huynh

Open Positions


    A postdoctoral position in auditory electrophysiology/systems neuroscience is available at Emory University, in the Computational Neuroethology Laboratory of Robert Liu.

    Our research focuses on neural coding and plasticity mechanisms in the auditory cortex. Our electrophysiological studies are conducted in the awake adult mouse, where we concentrate on the auditory processing of behaviorally relevant, species-specific communication sounds. Current work involves understanding the role of social experience and social neurochemicals on auditory cortical activity.

    We are looking for a candidate with a strong background in single unit extracellular electrophysiology. Experience in computational data analysis and programming using Matlab is highly desirable. For inquiries and to apply, please send CV, the names and full contact information of two references, and two representative publications to robert.liu@emory.edu.

Last Updated: 01/08/2013