Michael Kyweriga

Phone: (403) 394-3951
e-mail: mkyweriga@gmail.com

Research Interests

For the past decade my research interests have centered on the neural circuits underlying perception and behavior, with a focus on the neocortex.
Under the direction of Dr. Majid Mohajerani at CCBN, I am now exploring the functional role of the secondary auditory areas during auditory processing. I joined the Mohajerani Lab to augment my current skill set with in vivo imaging and behavior techniques. These include voltage sensitive dye, 2-photon calcium, and intrinsic imaging techniques, including optogenetic control of neurons. Ultimately this work will further our understanding of the basic functioning of the brain, to allow for targeted treatments for diseases and disorders such as age-related hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss, and tinnitus.

In August 2015, with Drs. Mohajerani, McNaughton, and Kolb, I began a 3-year project to investigate the cortical mechanisms underlying noise-induced tinnitus, funded by Alberta Innovates Health Solutions. Noise-induced tinnitus is a significant medical problem affecting more than 1 million Canadians and 10 million Americans every year. The disorder is the leading disability claim of retired RCMP officers ($130 million annually) and US veterans ($1.3 billion annually). There is no cure or relief from the persistent ringing. Many researchers have proposed that reorganization of the cortex following traumatic noise exposure leads to tinnitus, however this hypothesis remains untested. With the tools and techniques available at CCBN, I will test whether cortical remapping causes the development of tinnitus in a mouse model. These experiments will provide direct insight into the role of the auditory cortex allowing for translation into treatments for tinnitus in humans.

Dissertation Research

“The Synaptic Mechanisms Underlying Binaural Interactions in Rat Auditory Cortex”.

For my PhD at the University of Oregon I worked with Dr. Mike Wehr to investigate the synaptic mechanisms underlying sound localization in the rodent auditory cortex. Cortical sensory neurons spike according to either the inheritance model or the local processing model. In the inheritance model, synaptic excitation and inhibition are balanced; in the local processing model, synaptic inhibition refines the excitatory synaptic inputs. This work revealed that neurons responding to sounds originating from the rat’s midline follow the local processing model, whereas neurons responding to sounds originating from the side of the rat follow the inheritance model. I now have extensive expertise with electrophysiology including in vivo whole-cell recordings. I am also highly skilled with data analysis in MatLab and rodent behavior assays.


  • 2014 PhD in Biology (Systems Neuroscience), Wehr Lab, Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR.
  • 2006 BA in Psychology (Honors) with a Minor in Biology, UC Santa Cruz, CA.

Recent Publications

  1. Kyweriga & Mohajerani. Optogenetic Approaches for Mesoscopic Brain Mapping (2017). In Kianianmomeni (ed.), Optogenetics: Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology, 1408, 251-265
  2. Kyweriga, Stewart, Cahill, & Wehr. Synaptic mechanisms underlying interaural level difference selectivity in rat auditory cortex (2014). Journal of Neurophysiology, 112, 2561-2571.
  3. Kyweriga, Stewart, & Wehr. Neuronal interaural level difference response shifts are leveldependent in the rat auditory cortex (2014). Journal of Neurophysiology, 111, 930-938.
  4. Hoy, Haeger, Constable, Arias, McCallum, Kyweriga, Davis, Schnell, Wehr, Castillo, & Washbourne. Neuroligin1 Drives Synaptic and Behavioral Maturation through Intracellular Interactions (2013). Journal of Neuroscience, 33(22), 9364-9384.
  5. Wehr, Hostick, Kyweriga, Tan, Weible, H. Wu, W. Wu, Callaway, & Kentros. Transgenic silencing of neurons in the mammalian brain by expression of the Allatostatin receptor (AlstR) (2009). Journal of Neurophysiology, 102(4), 2554-2562.