Dr. MacLeod is currently a research professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. MacLeod leads an NIH-funded group to study the synaptic and neural mechanisms of sound coding in the cochlear nucleus, with collaborations across the Departments of Biology, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Hearing and Speech Sciences. She earned a B.A. at The Johns Hopkins University and Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology.
We investigate fundamental aspects of auditiory physiology using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from brain slices, in vivo electrophysiology, quantitive modeling of synaptic plasticity and biophysical membrane properties, and immunohistochemical techniques. Our model system is the avian auditory brainstem. All information about an auditory scene combines to a single sound pressure waveform impinging on the eardrum. These vibrations are encoded as spiking activity in auditory nerve, which in turn projects to the cochlear nuclei in the brain stem. Our driving question is: how does the brain interpret this activity as the complex auditory world around us? And how do we do this especially when there are multiple overlapping sound sources?