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Benjamin D. Auerbach

Profile picture for Benjamin D. Auerbach

Contact Information

2041 Beckman Institute
405 N. Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
Assistant Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Research Interests

Learning and Memory, Neurobiology, Optogenetics, Sensory Processing

Research Description

Neural mechanisms underlying sensory processing and plasticity

The brain has the remarkable ability to modify its connections and adapt its response properties based on prior experience. This experience-dependent plasticity greatly shapes our perception and behavior, is thought to be the physiological substrate of learning and memory, and is disrupted in a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders. My research uses the rodent auditory system as a tractable model for elucidating the biological mechanisms and behavioral consequences of experience-dependent modification in the brain. We use a multidimensional approach to address these questions, combing quantitative sensory behavior with high density in vivo electrophysiology, ex vivo biochemical and neuroanatomical analysis, as well optical imaging and manipulation of genetically-defined neuronal subtypes. Beyond the advancement of basic insight into brain function, the goal of this research is to identify pathophysiological mechanisms associated with neurodevelopmental and hearing disorders that often present with sound hypersensitivity— particularly autism spectrum disorders and hyperacusis— with the hope of translating our findings into novel therapies and treatment strategies.

Awards and Honors

2019 Travel Award for Association for Research in Otolaryngology
2018-2019 NARSAD Young Investigator Award
2015, 2017 Bishops Award for Neuroscience, University at Buffalo
2016 Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists Regional Nominee, University at Buffalo
2015 Society for Neuroscience Trainee Professional Development Award
2011 International Tuberous Sclerosis Research Conference Travel Award
2004 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Program Scholarship

Additional Campus Affiliations

Assistant Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Assistant Professor, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
Affiliate, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Highlighted Publications

Representative Publications

Auerbach BD, Manohar S, Radziwon K, Salvi R (2021) Auditory Hypersensitivity and Processing Deficits in a Rat Model of Fragile X Syndrome.Neurobiol Dis. October 29;161:105541.

Auerbach BD, Radziwon K, Salvi R (2019) Testing the Central Gain Model: Loudness Growth Correlates with Central Auditory Gain Enhancement in a Rodent Model of Hyperacusis.Neuroscience. May 21;407:93-107.

Auerbach BD, Rodrigues PV, Salvi RJ. (2014) Central gain control in tinnitus and hyperacusis. Front Neurol. Oct 24;5:206.

Auerbach BD, Osterweil EK, Bear MF (2011) Mutations causing syndromic autism define an axis of synaptic pathophysiology. Nature. Nov 23;480(7375):63-8

Auerbach BD, Bear MF (2010) Loss of the fragile X mental retardation protein decouples metabotropic glutamate receptor dependent priming of long-term potentiation from protein synthesis. J Neurophysiol. Aug;104(2):1047-51.

McCullagh EA, Rotschafer SE, Auerbach BD, Klug A, Kaczmarek LK, Cramer KS, Kulesza RJ Jr, Razak KA, Lovelace JW, Lu Y, Koch U, Wang Y (2020) Mechanisms underlying auditory processing deficits in Fragile X syndrome. FASEB J. Mar;34(3):3501-3518.

Radziwon K, Auerbach BD, Ding D, Liu X, Chen GD, Salvi R (2019) Noise-Induced loudness recruitment and hyperacusis: Insufficient central gain in auditory cortex and amygdala. Neuroscience. Dec 1;422:212-227.

Stoppel LJ*, Auerbach BD*, Senter RK, Preza AR, Lefkowitz RJ, Bear MF (2017) β-Arrestin2 Couples Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 5 to Neuronal Protein Synthesis and Is a Potential Target to Treat Fragile X. Cell Rep. Mar 21;18(12):2807-2814.

Dölen G, Osterweil E, Rao BS, Smith GB, Auerbach BD, Chattarji S, Bear MF (2007) Correction of fragile X syndrome in mice. Neuron.Dec 20;56(6):955-62.

Recent Publications

Auerbach, B. D., & Gritton, H. J. (2022). Hearing in Complex Environments: Auditory Gain Control, Attention, and Hearing Loss. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 16, [799787]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2022.799787

Liu, X., Kumar, V., Tsai, N. P., & Auerbach, B. D. (2022). Hyperexcitability and Homeostasis in Fragile X Syndrome. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 14, [805929]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnmol.2021.805929

Auerbach, B. D., Manohar, S., Radziwon, K., & Salvi, R. (2021). Auditory hypersensitivity and processing deficits in a rat model of fragile X syndrome. Neurobiology of Disease, 161, [105541]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2021.105541

Salvi, R., Auerbach, B. D., Lau, C., Chen, Y-C., Manohar, S., Liu, X., Ding, D., & Chen, G-D. (2021). Functional Neuroanatomy of Salicylate- and Noise-Induced Tinnitus and Hyperacusis. Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences, 133-160. https://doi.org/10.1007/7854_2020_156

Salvi, R., Radziwon, K., Manohar, S., Auerbach, B., Ding, D., Liu, X., Lau, C., Chen, Y. C., & Chen, G. D. (2021). Review: Neural mechanisms of tinnitus and hyperacusis in acute drug-induced ototoxicity. American journal of audiology, 30(3S), 901-915. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_AJA-20-00023

View all publications on Illinois Experts

In the news

  • Professor Auerbach was one of ten new faculty hires made in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology in the last three years. Auerbach is an assistant professor of molecular and integrative physiology, and is also an affiliate of the Beckman Institute.