Walter Metzner

Walter Metzner

(310) 206-2023

Office Address:
LSB 4365
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Fax Number:
(310) 825-3679

Lab Number:
(310) 825-3679

Work Address:
LSB 4357, 4353, 4347
Los Angeles, CA 90095


Professor, Integrative Biology and Physiology
Member, Brain Research Institute, Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology GPB Home Area, Neuroengineering Training Program, Neuroscience GPB Home Area

Research Interests

Sensory processing/motor control, especially auditory feedback control of vocalization; Behavioral Neuroscience (Neuroethology) We aim at understanding how the central nervous system transforms sensory signals into motor commands that control adaptive behavior. Specific topics include a) Mechanisms of auditory feedback control of mammalian vocalization. Although hearing one’s own voice is essential for the production of correct vocalization patterns in many birds and mammals, including humans, neuronal substrates and mechanisms for auditory feedback control of vocalizations are still largely unknown in any vertebrate. We study how hearing affects voice in echolocating horseshoe bats. These bats accurately control the frequency of their echolocation calls through auditory feedback, which becomes especially apparent when they are flying and compensating for frequency shifts in the echo signal that are caused by Doppler-effects. Similar to visual fixation, where eye movements keep an image of interest centered on the visual fovea, this “Doppler-shift compensation behavior” in horseshoe bats ensures that the echo of interest remains within a so called “auditory fovea”. b) Electrosensory processing and synaptic modulation of a neuronal oscillator: My research in weakly electric gymnotiform fish concentrates on the segregation of behaviors on both the sensory and motor side of the central nervous system. This includes studying the synaptic modulation of one of the most precise neuronal oscillators, the pacemaker nucleus, as well as determining the behavioral significance of multiple sensory and premotor pathways.


A selected list of publications: