César D. M. Vargas
I am a neuroscientist interested in how brains generate and adapt behaviors. I am currently a Postdoctoral Scholar in the lab of Dr. Erich Jarvis, having just recently received my PhD from Rockefeller University in the same lab. In 2018 I received a Gilliam Fellowship from HHMI. I obtained my B.A. in Neuroscience from Vanderbilt University where I completed an Honor's Thesis under the late Dr. Vivien Casagrande.
Currently, I study neural circuits for vocalizing in Mus musculus (aka your regular ol' lab mouse). Mice are fairly social creatures and will often use ultrasonic vocalizations when they interact with each other. They will even change some of their vocalizations depending on the social environment they find themselves in.
My thesis work has focused on the motor cortex, and how this region of the brain could be involved in the mice's ability to 1) control vocal production and 2) modify their vocalizations. To do this, I use a variety of electrophysiological methods and behavioral approaches to better understand the neural dynamics that help generate such an incredible and complex behavior.
Rectified and smoothed EMG traces recorded from mouse laryngeal muscle.
Spectrogram of mouse USV with labeled syllables (individual calls) that make up a sequence (brackets).
Banner Image: Spectrogram of ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) produced by a male mouse. Visualization performed using Audacity.