Do birds know who they are talking to? How do we know who we are talking to? In this 2022 Share Your Research Talk, Isabella Catalano untangles the use of auditory and visual modalities to answer the questions behind what happens in the brain to make recognition possible. Her thesis research uses zebra finches as a model system to study individual recognition in the brain. She has looked at different brain regions, including areas for learning and memory and reward, in zebra finches in response to their mate’s call, and found differing levels of cell activity in certain regions when hearing a mate versus silence. She is still doing more work in this area, but this research has implications for diseases in which we lose the ability to recognize individuals, even those close to us.
Isabella Catalano is a PhD candidate at McGill University, in the laboratory of Dr. Sarah C. Woolley, where she studies individual recognition in zebra finches. Isabella seeks to become a research professor. Continue Reading