Xiaoqin Wang, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Auditory Neurophysiology

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University


research interests

     Our laboratory is interested in understanding the neural basis of auditory perception and vocal communication in a naturalistic environment. We are interested in revealing neural coding mechanisms operating in the cerebral cortex and how cortical representations of biologically important sounds emerge through development and learning. Perception and production of communication sounds (e.g. human speech and animal vocalizations) are among the most important behaviors of humans and many animals species. Because of the complexity and behavioral importance of communication sounds, understanding their neural representations in the cerebral cortex will help reveal computational principles that the brain uses to process a wide range of sounds we experience daily such as speech and music. Understanding how the brain processes such sounds will provide invaluable insights into neural mechanisms underlying human language perception as well as how the brain functions during social interactions. We use a combination of neurophysiological methods and state-of-the-art engineering and computational techniques to tackle our research questions.

CURRENT research

  1. 1)Neural basis of auditory perception:

    - Neural coding of species-specific vocalizations in a naturalistic environment 

    - Cortical circuits and organization for processing pitch and harmonicity

    - Spatial representation in auditory cortex; neural basis of cocktail-party effect

    - Population coding studied with two-photon imaging technique

  1. 2)Neural mechanisms for vocal communication and social interaction:

    - Neural circuits for vocal production and control in the brain

    - Neural mechanisms underlying auditory-vocal interaction and feedback processing

    - Brain functions during social interactions studied with wireless neural recording techniques

  1. 3)Cortical processing of cochlear implant stimulation:

    - Neural representations of cochlear implant signals in auditory cortex

    - Developmental and experience-dependent plasticity in cochlear implant usage

selected publications

Wang X. The harmonic organization of auditory cortex. Front. Syst. Neurosci. 7:114 (2013). doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2013.00114

Huang J, Gamble D, Sarnlertsophon K, Wang X, Hsiao S. Feeling Music: Integration of Auditory and Tactile Inputs in Musical Meter Perception. PLoS ONE 7(10): e48496 (2012) 

Johnson LA, Della Santina CC, Wang X. Temporal bone characterization and cochlear implant feasibility in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). Hear Res. 290(1-2):37-44 (2012) 

Roy S, Miller C, Gottsch D, and Wang X. Vocal control by common marmoset in the presence of interfering noise. The Journal of Experimental Biology  214: 3619-3629 (2011)

Issa, E. B. and X. Wang. Altered Neural Responses to Sounds in Primate Primary Auditory Cortex during Slow-Wave Sleep. J. Neurosci. 31:2965-2973 (2011). 

Miller C, Dimauro A, Pistorio A, Hendry S and Wang X. Vocalization induced cFos expression in marmoset cortex. Front. Integr. Neurosci. 4:128 (2010)

Zhou Y. and Wang X. Cortical Processing of Dynamic Sound Envelope Transitions. J. Neurosci. 30: 16741-16754 (2010).

Sadagopan S, Wang X. Nonlinear spectrotemporal interactions underlying selectivity for complex sounds in auditory cortex. J Neurosci. 29: 11192-11202 (2009)

Eliades, S.J. and X. Wang. Neural substrates of vocalization feedback monitoring in primate auditory cortex. Nature 453: 1102-1106 (2008).

Issa, E. B. and X. Wang.  Sensory responses during sleep in primate primary and secondary auditory cortex. J. Neurosci. 28: 14467-14480 (2008). 

Bendor, D.A. and X. Wang. “Differential neural coding of acoustic flutter within primate auditory cortex”. Nat Neurosci, 10: 763-771 (2007).

Wang, X., T. Lu, R.K. Snider and L. Liang. Sustained firing in auditory cortex evoked by preferred stimuli. Nature 435: 341-346 (2005). 

Bendor, D. A. and X. Wang. The neuronal representation of pitch in primate auditory cortex. Nature 436: 1161-1165 (2005).

Barbour, D. and X. Wang. Contrast tuning in auditory cortex. Science, 299: 1073-1075 (2003).

Lu, T., L. Liang and X. Wang. Temporal and rate representations of time-varying signals in the auditory cortex of awake primates. Nature Neuroscience, 4:1131-1138, (2001).

Wang, X. On cortical coding of vocal communication sounds in primates. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97: 11843-11849 (2000).


    Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Neuroscience and    


    Director, Tsinghua-Johns Hopkins Joint Center for Biomedical         

        Engineering Research


    B.S., Electrical Engineering, Sichuan University

    M.S., Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University

        of Michigan

    Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University



    720 Rutland Avenue, Traylor 410

    Baltimore, MD 21205, USA

    Phone: 410.614.4547, email: xiaoqin.wang AT jhu.edu