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Hopkins researchers receive NSF grant to examine the science of bat navigation

The $1 million award will advance a study about how animals use sound to guide behavior
Posted August 22, 2017
The 'bat lab' research led by Cindy Moss and her team may lead to a better understanding of human brains, as all mammals share a basic brain organization. The 'bat lab' research led by Cindy Moss and her team may lead to a better understanding of human brains, as all mammals share a basic brain organization.

An interdisciplinary Hopkins team received one of 19 grants from the National Science Foundation for work that "push(es) the frontiers of brain science."

The study focuses on how bats process sounds for navigation — a good model to help understand how all animals, including humans, use sound to guide behavior, says Cindy Moss, a professor of psychological and brain sciences in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and neuroscience in Johns Hopkins Medicine. Much of the research takes place in Moss' "bat lab" on the Homewood campus, which was supported by generous annual gifts to the Hopkins Fund. The lab features high-speed video, specialized lighting, microphones in the ceiling and walls, and the capability to make wireless neural recordings of the bats as they fly.

"These teams are posing problems in new ways, taking intellectual and technical risks that have huge potential payoff," says Ken Whang, program director in the NSF's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate, in a statement about the grant.

Read more about the Hopkins team's research on The Hub.