Welcome to the Center for Navigation and Communication Sciences

A fundamental feature of animal evolution is the advent and expansion of the nervous system. Among the most compelling outcomes are the neural and somatic mechanisms that support purposeful movement through the environment and effective communication between freely navigating individuals. These tasks entail coordination across multiple motor behaviors with the aid of several sensory modalities. Navigation and communication are fundamentally important to survival and are hallmarks of natural selection. These functions are also among the first to encounter trouble in the aged or diseased nervous system, and failures lead to errors that are potentially catastrophic (e.g. driving accidents, falls in the elderly).

We have established the Center for Navigation and Communication Sciences, supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), that is specifically dedicated to research on the sensory, motor, and integrative mechanisms underlying these essential functions. Key topics of research focus on two general areas: multi-sensory interactions and sensorimotor integration underlying communication and navigation, and plasticity, learning and recovery of function. These are not mutually exclusive, and are indeed synergistic. Our integrated approach recognizes that no sensory or motor modality evolved alone, but rather in tandem to support the complexities of daily activities.

Further, by understanding the principles underlying our ability to navigate through our environment and to communicate with others, and how these functions fail with aging and disease, the CNCS addresses important clinical and public health concerns. In so doing, the CNCS and it's research cores enhances our contributions to the health and well being of our community.

Featured Research Images

In the central zone of the posterior semicircular canal crista of the red-eared slider, afferent fibers give rise to cuplike calyx terminals. Here, KCNQ4 potassium channels line the inner face of these calyceal terminals where they are thought to play a role in both afferent and efferent neurotransmission in the peripheral vestibular system. more info...