Albert S Feng

Albert S Feng

2355 Beckman Institute
Office: (217) 244-1951
Lab: (217) 333-7071
Fax: (217) 244-5180

Mail to: 2355 Beckman Institute
Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
524 Burrill Hall
407 S. Goodwin Ave
Urbana, IL 61801

Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Professor Emeritus of Biophysics
Professor Emeritus of Bioengineering
Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience
Romano Scholar

Research Topics

Ion Channels, Learning and Memory, Neurobiology, Pattern Formation, Sensory Processing


B.S. 1968 University of Miami
M.S. 1970 University of Miami
Ph.D. 1975 Cornell University
Postdoc. 1975-1976 University of California at San Diego
Postdoc. 1976-1977 Washington University

Neural basis of sound pattern recognition

Dr. Feng and his students and postdocs study the neural basis of sound communication, using the frog and bat auditory systems as models. These animals communicate by sounds in acoustically complex environments. Male frogs produce advertisement calls in large choruses, and females must localize and identify the callers based on the spectro-temporal characteristics of males’ vocalizations. Current research focuses on determining the mechanisms underlying extraction of signals in complex auditory scenes. Echolocating bats rely on analysis of echoes of their sonar emissions to determine the location and identity of objects along their flight paths, and to discriminate preys from obstacles, as well as stationary from moving objects. The current focus is on determining the roles of neural oscillation in time domain information processing. Their research is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.

Dr. Feng is also active in translational research. A recent project involved transferring knowledge of biological signal processing strategies to guiding the design of intelligent hearing aids. This interdisciplinary team at the Beckman Institute developed advanced hearing aid technologies with the ability to extract sound embedded in noise. He currently leads a team of researchers that is pursuing the development of biomolecular high-resolution cochlear implants.

Representative Publications

Shah SM, Kang YJ, Christensen BL, Feng AS, Kollmar R (2009) Expression of Wnt receptors in adult spiral ganglion neurons: Frizzled 9 localization at growth cones of regenerating neurites. Neuroscience 164: 478-487.

Feng AS, Riede T, Arch VS, Yu ZL, Xu ZM, Yu XJ, Shen JX (2009) Diversity of the vocal signals of concave-eared torrent frogs (Odorrana tormota): Evidence for individual signatures. Ethology 115:1015-1028.

Yang SC, Lin WY, Feng AS (2009) Wide-ranging frequency preferences of auditory midbrain neurons: Roles of membrane time constant and synaptic properties. European Journal of Neuroscience. 30: 76-90.

Feng AS, Arch VS, Yu ZL, Yu XJ, Xu ZM, Shen JX (2009) Neighbor-stranger discrimination in concave-eared torrent frogs, Odorrana tormota. Ethology 115: 851-856.

Shen JX, Feng AS, Xu ZM, Yu ZL, Arch VS, Yu XJ, Narins PM (2008) Ultrasonic frogs show hyperacute phonotaxis to the female's courtship calls. Nature 453: 914-917 (Epub: May 11, 2008).

Larsen E, Iyer N, Lansing CR, Feng AS (2008) On the minimum audible difference in direct-to-reverberant energy ratio. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 124: 450-461.

Gridi-Papp M, Feng AS, Shen JX, Yu ZL, Narins PM (2008) Active control of ultrasonic hearing in frogs. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 105 (31): 11013-11018.

Feng, A.S. and Narins, P.M. 2008. Ultrasonic communication in concave-eared torrent frogs (Amolops tormotus). J. Comp. Physiol., 194:159-67.

Yang, S.C. and Feng, A.S. 2007. Heterogeneous biophysical characteristics of frog cochlear nucleus neurons. J. Neurophysiol., 98(4):1953-64.

Vieira, M., Christensen, B.L., Wheeler, B.C., Feng, A.S., and Kollmar, R. 2007. Survival and stimulation of neurite outgrowth in a serum-free culture of spiral ganglion neurons from adult mice. Hear. Res., 230:17-23.

Suthers, R.A., Narins, P.M., Lin, W.Y., Schnitzler, H.U., Densinger, A., Xu, C.H., and Feng, A.S. 2006. Voices of the dead: Complex nonlinear vocal signals from the larynx of an ultrasonic frog. J. Exp. Biol., 209:4984-93.

Feng, A.S., Narins, P.M., Xu, C.H., Lin, W.Y., Yu, Z.L., Qiu, Q., Xu, Z.M., and Shen, J.X. 2006. Ultrasonic communication in frogs. Nature, 440(7082):333–6. [Abstract]

Feng, A.S. and Schul, J. (2006) Signal processing in real-world environments. In "Hearing and Sound Communication in Amphibians" (eds. P.M. Narins, A.S. Feng, R.R. Fay and A.N. Popper), Springer Handbook of Auditory Research, Volume 28, pp. 323-350. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Feng, A.S. and Jones, D.L. (2006) Localization-based grouping. A chapter in "Computational Auditory Scene Analysis" (D.L. Wang and G.J. Brown, eds.), pp. 187-207. New York: Wiley Inter-Science.

Galazyuk, A.V., Lin, W.Y., Llano, D., and Feng, A.S. 2005. Leading inhibition to neural oscillation is important for time-domain processing in the auditory midbrain. Journal of Neurophysiology, 94(1):314–26. [Abstract]

Narins, P.M., Feng, A.S., Lin, W.Y., Schnitzler, H.U., Denzinger, A., Suthers, R.A., and Xu, C.H. 2004. Old world frog and bird vocalizations contain prominent ultrasonic harmonics. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 115(2):910–13. [Abstract]

Lin, W.Y. and Feng, A.S. 2003. GABA is involved in spatial unmasking in the frog auditory midbrain. Journal of Neuroscience, 23(22):8143–51. [Abstract]

Endepols, H., Feng, A.S., Gerhardt, H.C., Schul, J., and Walkowiak, W. 2003. Roles of the auditory midbrain and thalamus in selective phonotaxis in female gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor). Behavioral Brain Research, 145(1-2):63–77. [Abstract]

Ratnam, R., Jones, D.L., Wheeler, B.C., O'Brien, W.D., Lansing, C.R., and Feng, A.S. 2003. Blind estimation of reverberation time. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 114(5):2877–92. [Abstract]

Galazyuk, A.V. and Feng, A.S. 2001. Oscillation may play a role in time domain central auditory processing. J. Neurosci., 21(RC147):1–5. [Abstract]

Liu, C., Wheeler, B.C., O'Brien, W.D. Jr., Bilger, R.C., Lansing, C.R., and Feng, A.S. 2001. A two-microphone dual delay-line approach for extraction of a speech sound in the presence of multiple interferers. J. Acoust. Soc. Amer., 110(6):3218–31. [Abstract]

Feng, A.S. and Ratnam, R. 2000. Neural basis of hearing in real world situations. Ann. Rev. Psych., 51:699–725. [Abstract]

Complete Publications List