In the Takesian lab, I will explore the neural circuitry that allows the brain to interpret and respond appropriately to sound. Auditory input is processed in the brain’s cortex, where sensory information is encoded by co-activation of neuronal circuits. The activity of these circuits, however, is modulated by input from other areas of the brain, which allows an animal to locate the source of sounds, determine which are relevant, and move toward them—or away from them. The Takesian lab has discovered that a set of so-called interneurons that regulates the activity of these auditory circuits receives input not only from neurons carrying sensory information, but also from neurons that help to direct the animal’s attention. However, little is known about where these modulatory neurons originate. Using an array of cutting-edge techniques in neurophysiology, pharmacology, neuroimaging, and microscopy, I will identify and characterize the neurons that communicate with the auditory circuitry and determine how activating or silencing them alters the activity of interneurons, both in acute brain slices and in awake adult mice. I will also assess how perturbing sensory input to these interneurons during a key developmental period affects their activity and auditory processing later in life. The results will reveal how the brain integrates sensory information and could provide novel approaches to enhance or restore auditory processing following neurological injury.