Julio César Hechavarria Cueria
Lecturer (Wissenschaftl. Assistent)

Email:hechavarria@bio.uni-frankfurt.de
Phone:+49 69 / 798 42062

Research Scope

I am currently leading the Neurobiology of Auditory Computations (NAC) group. The NAC group is a part of the Department for Neurobiology and Biosensors, located at the Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main. In the NAC group, we use bats, gerbils and humans as models for understanding the rules that govern vocal production in mammals. A large part of our research also deals with the mechanisms by which the brain is able to extract and piece together the information enclosed in natural sound streams.

We always have several research projects running in parallel. These projects are conducted by PhD, master, and bachelor students under my supervision, and the supervision of Prof. Manfred Kössl. Currently ongoing research projects include:

  • Processing of echolocation information in noisy environments (animal model: bats; responsible person: Jerome Beetz, PhD student)
  • Processing of naturalistic sound streams in the bat auditory midbrain (animal model: bats; responsible persons: Jerome Beetz, PhD student / Sebastian Kordes, Bachelor student)
  • Synchronization between spikes and local field potentials in response to amplitude modulated sounds (animal model: bats, responsible persons: Francisco Garcia-Rosales, PhD student / Lisa Martin, Master student)
  • Responses to natural sound streams in the cortical frontal auditory fields (animal model: bats, responsible person: Francisco Garcia-Rosales, PhD student)
  • Tuning to sound duration in the auditory system (animal model: bats, responsible person: Jan Pastyrik, Master Student)
  • Properties of bat distress vocalizations (animal model: bats, responsible person: Dr. Julio Hechavarria)
  • Processing of screams in the human brain (model: humans, responsible persons: Dr. Yuranny Cabral-Calderin, Dr. Julio Hechavarria)
  • The electrocardiogram signal of bats (animal model: bats, responsible person: Dr. Julio Hechavarria)
  • Processing of complex sounds in auditory cortex columns (animal model: gerbils, responsible person: Markus Schäfer, PhD student)

External funding sources

DFG: grant number HE 7478/1-1

Open PhD positions

Currently there are no open PhD positions in the NAC lab, but we are always searching for highly motivated PhD candidates. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in investigating auditory processing in the bat brain.

Topics for Master and Bachelor thesis

We are always searching for master and bachelor students that are highly motivated to study auditory processing. Feel free to contact us to know more about possible topics for bachelor and master thesis.

  

Publications

* = recommended readings

2016201520142013 - 2012 - 2011

Publications 2016 - top

*Vocal sequences suppress spiking in the bat auditory cortex while evoking concomitant steady-state local field potentials. Hechavarría JC, Beetz MJ, Macias S, Kössl M. Sci Rep. 2016 Dec 15;6:39226. doi: 10.1038/srep39226

Cortical neurons of bats respond best to echoes from nearest targets when listening to natural biosonar multi-echo streams. Beetz MJ, Hechavarría JC, Kössl M. Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 27;6:35991. doi: 10.1038/srep35991.

Short delays and low pulse amplitudes produce widespread activation in the target-distance processing area of auditory cortex of the mustached bat. Macías S, Hechavarría JC. J Acoust Soc Am. 2016 Aug;140(2):917. doi: 10.1121/1.4960547.

Sharp temporal tuning in the bat auditory midbrain overcomes spectral-temporal trade-off imposed by cochlear mechanics. Macías S, Hechavarría JC, Kössl M. Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 4;6:29129. doi: 10.1038/srep29129.

*Temporal tuning in the bat auditory cortex is sharper when studied with natural echolocation sequences. Beetz MJ, Hechavarría JC, Kössl M. Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 30;6:29102. doi: 10.1038/srep29102.

The electrocardiogram signal of Seba's short-tailed bat, Carollia perspicillata. Mihova D, Hechavarría JC. J Comp Physiol A. 2016 Jul;202(7):517-26. doi: 10.1007/s00359-016-1098-8. PMID: 27283857

*Distress vocalization sequences broadcasted by bats carry redundant information. Hechavarría JC, Beetz MJ, Macias S, Kössl M. J Comp Physiol A. 2016 Jul;202(7):503-15. doi: 10.1007/s00359-016-1099-7. PMID: 27277892

Echo-level compensation and delay tuning in the auditory cortex of the mustached bat. Macías S, Mora EC, Hechavarría JC, Kössl M. Eur J Neurosci. 2016 Jun;43(12):1647-60. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13244. PMID: 27037932

*Temporal encoding precision of bat auditory neurons tuned to target distance deteriorates on the way to the cortex. Macías S, Hechavarría JC, Kössl M. J Comp Physiol A. 2016 Mar;202(3):195-202. doi: 10.1007/s00359-016-1067-2. 

Abstract:

Beetz MJ, Hechavarría JC, Kössl M (2016) Precise target-distance coding during cortical suppression in echolocating bats.
"Twelfth Congress of the International Society of Neuroethology" (Montevideo, Uruguay, 30th March- 3rd April 2016).

Publications 2015 - top

Kössl M, Hechavarria J, Voss C, Schaefer M, Vater M (2015) Bat auditory cortex - model for general mammalian auditory computation or special design solution for active time perception? European Journal of Neuroscience 41(5):518-32. doi: 10.1111/ejn.12801.

Macías S, Hernández-Abad A, Hechavarría JC, Kössl M, Mora EC (2015) Level-tolerant duration selectivity in the auditory cortex of the velvety free-tailed bat Molossus molossus. Journal of Comparative Physiology A (2015)201:461-471. doi 10.1007/s00359-015-0993-8

Schaefer M, Hechavarria JC, Koessl M (2015) Quantification of mid and late evoked sinks in laminar current source density profiles of columns in the primary auditory cortex. frontiers in Neural Circuits. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2015.00052

Abstract:

Beetz MJ, Hechavarría JC, Kössl M (2015). About how cortical neurons of bats cope with fast echolocation sequences: Multi-electrode and single-electrode recordings with natural echolocation stimuli. “Eleventh Göttingen Meeting of the German Neuroscience Society” (Göttingen, Germany, 18.-21. March 2015).

Publications 2014 - top

Hechavarria JC, Kössl M (2014) Footprints of inhibition in the response of cortical delay-tuned neurons of bats. Journal of Neurophysiology 111:1703-1716.

Kössl M, Hechavarria JC, Voss C, Macias S, Mora EC, Vater M (2014) Neural maps for target range in the auditory cortex of echolocating bats. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 24:68-75.

Macias S, Hechavarria JC, Cobo A, Mora EC (2014) Narrow sound pressure level tuning in the auditory cortex of the bats Molossus molossus and Macrotus waterhousii. Hearing Research 309:36-43.

Mora EC, Fernández Y, Hechavarría J, Pérez M (2014) Tone-deaf ears in moths may limit the acoustic detection of two-tone bats. Brain Behavior and Evolution 83(4): 275-85.


Publications 2013
- top

Evolution of the heteroharmonic strategy for target-range computation in the echolocation of Mormoopidae.
Mora EC, Macías S, Hechavarría JC, Vater M, Kössl M. Front Physiol. 2013;4:141. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2013.00141.

Blurry topography for precise target-distance computations in the auditory cortex of echolocating bats. Hechavarría JC, Macías S, Vater M, Voss C, Mora EC, Kössl M. Nat Commun. 2013, doi: 10.1038/ncomms3587.

Neural maps for target range in the auditory cortex of echolocating bats. M Kössl, JC Hechavarria, C Voss, S Macias, EC Mora, M Vater. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 2014, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.conb.2013.08.016

Neurons in the inferior colliculus of the mustached bat are tuned both to echo-delay and sound duration. Macías S, Hechavarría JC, Kössl M, Mora EC.
Neuroreport. 2013 Mar 12. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23492868 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Related citations

Evolution of neuronal mechanisms for echolocation: specializations for target-range computation in bats of the genus Pteronotus. Hechavarría J.C., Macías S, Vater M, Mora EC, Kössl M.
J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 Jan;133(1):570-8. doi: 10.1121/1.4768794.
PMID: 23297928 [PubMed - in process]

Properties of echo delay-tuning receptive fields in the inferior colliculus of the mustached bat. Macías S, Mora EC, Hechavarría J.C., Kössl M.
Hear Res. 2012 Apr;286(1-2):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2012.02.013. Epub 2012 Mar 15.
PMID: 22446180 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Publications 2012
- top

Macías, S.; Mora, E.C.; Hechavarría, Julio C. ;Kössl, M. (2012). Properties of echo delay-tuning receptive fields in the inferior colliculus of the mustached bat. Hear. Res. 286


Publications 2011
- top

Hechavarría, J.C.;Cobo, A.T.; Fernández, Y.; Macías, S.; Kössl, M.; Mora EC. 2011.Sound-evoked oscillation and paradoxical latency shift in the inferior colliculus neurons of the big fruit-eating bat, Artibeus jamaicensis.J Comp Physiol A. doi:10.1007/s00359-011-0678-x

Macías S, Mora EC, Hechavarría JC, Kössl M. 2011.Duration tuning in the inferior colliculus of the mustached bat.J Neurophysiol. doi:10.1152/jn.00294.2011