DPhil, MSc, BSc
Kerry Walker completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology and Mathematics (BSc hon., Memorial University), an MSc in Neuroscience (Dalhousie University), and her DPhil in Physiology (Brasenose College, University of Oxford). She worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher for Prof Andrew King in the Auditory Neuroscience Group for 3 years before starting her independent research lab as a DPAG Early Career Research Fellow. She is currently an Associate Professor of Neuroscience.
Her group's research examines the brain processes that allow humans and other animals to understand sounds, particularly communication calls. It aims to identify the spiking events in auditory cortical neurons that form the brain's representations of sound features, including: "pitch", which is the sound's tonal quality; the location of the sound source in space; the spectral characteristics we use to identify the sound source (e.g. a violin versus a piano); and the temporal properties of the sound, such as rhythm.
The Walker group uses range of techniques to understand neural processing across multiple levels of the auditory system. The precise spiking responses of neurons are measured extracellularly in anaesthetised and awake, behaving animals. The responses of large populations of neurons are visualized using in vivo 2-photon calcium imaging. Psychophysical studies are used to examine the listening capabilities of humans and animals. Finally, computational models of the auditory system are used to test hypotheses and make predictions about how we hear.
Dr Walker is a Research Associate of St. Catherine's College, where she served as Director of Studies for Biomedical Sciences for 6 years. She provides lectures in Biomedical Science, Pre-Clinical Medicine, Human Sciences, and the MSc Neuroscience course. She serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Neuroscience and Current Research in Neurobiology.