Linking Evolution and Development of the Auditory System

May 25 – 27, 2016

Venue:

Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg
Lehmkuhlenbusch 4
27753 Delmenhorst

The ears of land vertebrates present a fascinating kaleidoscope of structures. They achieved their unique configurations relatively late in evolution, after the main groups had separated. Thus middle and inner ear and the neural processing apparatus in lizards, birds and mammals evolved separately over a period of more than 200 million years.
Some of the most important questions regarding the form and function of modern ears and the brain centres involved in processing sound stimuli is the extent to which they build upon a common, genetic basis they inherited from the ancestral forms and, by contrast, the character and role of independently-evolved features. During the last two decades, research into these questions has revealed some clear trends that provide a solid basis for continued investigations, but also tantalizing clues that invite systematic study.

This short workshop has three aims:

  • To bring together prominent scientists to explain and discuss the current status of evolutionary and developmental research into ears and the auditory brain.
  • To provide a forum for investigators to discuss the research tools, model organisms and open questions and through this to begin research collaborations.
  • To offer a training session for younger investigators that intend to pursue research into one of the fields.


The talks will cover the evolution of ears and brain centres and developmental patterns of the ear and auditory brain in diverse model organisms from fish, birds and mammals. In addition, gene regulatory networks for essential structural patterns such as planar polarity of sensory cells, Hox gene control of brain rhombomeres and the structure and innervation of brain nuclei will be discussed.

The workshop will take place at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (HWK) Institute for Advanced Study in Delmenhorst, Lower Saxony. Included in the workshop will be a half-day exkursion to the nearby city of Bremen including a tour of the World Heritage Town Hall.

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