Étudiante-chercheuse étoile February 2017

Emily Coffey

PhD student in Neuroscience
McGill University

Award-winning publication: Cortical contributions to the auditory frequency-following response revealed by MEG

Published in: Nature Communications


Emily Coffey and her colleagues made an important discovery on the human auditory system when they detected the neural signals generated when we hear sound—known as frequency-following responses (FFRs)—in an area of the brain that had never been linked to these types of emissions. The finding elucidates the research on the brain's ability to adapt to external stimuli through training and its potential to enhance auditory information processing. By better understanding FFRs and their origins, researchers will be able to more accurately evaluate the ways in which the brain changes with training. FFRs were also used to study learning disabilities and autism, since children affected by the conditions experience altered FFRs—a response that has been attributed to brainstem dysfunction. In addition to providing a clearer picture of the ways in which FFRs are generated, Emily Coffey's results could lead to better examinations and diagnoses of hearing disabilities.