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Prof Ramesh Rajan

Ramesh Rajan is a Professor of Physiology in the School of Biomedical Sciences at Monash University. He completed his undergraduate studies and research training, including his PhD, at the University of Western Australia. His PhD thesis, supervised by Emeritus Professor Brian Johnstone, a pioneer of Australian auditory neuroscience and cochlear physiology more generally, was on the role of the cochlear efferents in protecting hearing. He moved to a post-doctoral position with Professor (then Dr) Dexter Irvine and Dr Lindsay Aitkin at Monash University, in 1987, studying auditory cortical encoding of sound location. Subsequently he and Dexter Irvine carried on the auditory cortex plasticity work pioneered by Don Robertson (from UWA, Perth) and Dexter Irvine. He moved to the Dept of Physiology in 1997, shifting his focus to sensory cortical encoding of tactile input. His current work encompasses animal-based studies on the sensory cortical underpinnings of the effects of traumatic brain injury and auditory cortical encoding of vocalizations and human-based work on the perception of speech in noise and how this is affected by neurological disorders. He has been fortunate to have worked with a number of very good students, post-doctoral fellows and colleagues, and expects to be able to continue these fruitful collaborations 

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Auditory system plasticity to peripheral damage

Friday 8 July | 11.00am

This talk will examine how damage to the cochlea can cause changes in the way in which the brain's cortex processes sound information. While plasticity has been demonstrated to auditory learning, the main concern for practitioners in the field is focused around the fact that maladaptive plasticity is also evoked by cochlear damage and this may worsen the poor discrimination and other consequences of cochlear damage.

Processing sounds in noise - effects of brain disorders

Saturday 9 July | 10.30am

Processing of speech, especially in the noisy environments that typify the modern world, is a archetypal benchmark auditory task. It is the acme test of the ability of a person to operate in the daily world, and is the benchmark against which the beneficial effects of remediation therapies are measured. Little attention is given in the field of hearing sciences to the fact that brain disorders also impact on this skill, even in the presence of perfect hearing. Here I will discuss our work in this topic, showing how the normal brain processes natural speech in commonplace noise, and how this skill is affected in two neurodegenerative disorders.