Indiana University Bloomington

Laura M. Hurley

Laura M. Hurley

B.A., University of Virginia, 1989
Ph.D., University of Washington, 1997
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas at Austin

Email address: lhurley(at)

Research Interests

One model commonly used to think about nervous system function is that of a hard-wired circuit. Although this model is an extremely useful one, it has been known for some time that the circuits of the brain can be modified by neuromodulators. Research in my lab focuses on how neuromodulators alter the function of neural circuits that underlie behavior. We pursue this interest by studying the actions of the neuromodulator serotonin on the auditory system. Serotonin is nearly ubiquitous in the mammalian auditory system, but there has been comparatively little research on how serotonin alters the central processing of sound. To address this issue, we use mice as experimental subjects. Many strains of mice have excellent hearing, and there is a recent upsurge of interest in the types of sounds that are behaviorally relevant for mice, including a rich repertoire of audible and ultrasonic vocalizations. Our research addresses several general questions: When is serotonin available in the auditory system? How does serotonin influence auditory processing? How does manipulating auditory serotonin influence behavior? To address these questions we use a range of techniques including extracellular electrophysiology, carbon fiber voltammetry, hormone assays, immunohistochemistry, and behavioral analysis. The ultimate goal of our work is to develop new models of neuromodulator-induced plasticity in the auditory system and of affective-sensory interaction.

Representative Publications

Hurley, L.M. and Pollak, G.D. (1999). Serotonin differentially modulates responses to tones and frequency-modulated sweeps in the infenor colliculus. Journal of Neuroscience, 19, 8071-8082.

Klug, A., Khan, A., Bauer, E.E., Burger, R.B., Grothe, B., Hurley, L.M., Yang, L., and Park, T.J. (2000). Latency as a function of intensity in auditory neurons: influences of central processing. Hearing Research, 148, 107-123.

Hurley, L.M. and Thompson, A.M. (2001). Serotonergic innervation of the auditory brainstem of the Mexican free-tailed bat, Tadarida brasiliensis. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 435 (1), 78-88.

Hurley, L.M. and Pollack, G.D. (2001). Serotonin effects on frequency tuning of inferior colliculus neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology, 85(2), 828-842.

Klug, A., Bauer, E.E., Hanson, J., Hurley, L.M., Meitzen, J., and Pollak, G.D. (2002). Inhibition generates response selectivity for species-specific calls in the inferior colliculus of Mexican free-tailed bats. Journal of Neurophysiology, 88, 1941-1954.

Hurley, L.M., Thompson, A.M., and Pollak, G.D. (2002). Serotonin in the inferior colliculus. (review article). Hearing Research, 168, 1-11.

Thompson, A.M. and Hurley, L.M. (2004). Dense serotonergic innervation of principal nuclei of the superior olivary complex complex in mouse. Neuroscience Letters, 168, 179-182.

Hurley, L.M., Devilbiss, D.M., and Waterhouse, B.D. (2004). A matter of focus: monoaminergic modulation of stimulus coding within mammalian sensory networks. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 14, 488-495.

Hurley, L.M. and Pollak, G.D. (2005). Serotonin shifts first-spike latencies of inferior colliculus neurons. Journal of Neuroscience 25(34), 7876-7886.

Hurley, L.M. and Pollak, G.D. (2005). Serotonin selectively modulates responses to species-specific vocalizations in the inferior colliculus. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 191, 535-547.

Hurley, L.M. (2006). Different serotonin receptor agonists have distinct effects on sound-evoked responses in inferior colliculus. Journal of Neurophysiology, 96(5), 2177-2188.

Hall, I.C., & Hurley, L.M. (2007). Fenfluramine causes similar spatial and temporal patterns of effects on the evoked responses of IC neurons. Hearing Research, 228(1-2), 82-94.

Hurley, L.M. (2007). Activation of the serotonin 1A receptor alters the temporal characteristics of auditory responses in the inferior colliculus. Brain Research, 1181, 121-129.

Hurley, L.M., Bohorquez, A., & Tracy, J. (2008). The serotonin 1B receptor modulates frequency response curves and spectral integration in the inferior colliculus by reducing GABAergic inhibition. Journal of Neurophysiology, 100, 1656-1667.

Bohorquez, A. & Hurley, L.M. (2009). Activation of serotonin 3 receptors changes in vivo auditory responses in the mouse inferior colliculus. Hearing Research, 251, 29-38.

Hall, I.C., & Hurley, L.M. (2010). Serotonergic fluctuations in the auditory systems of behaving mice depend on behavioral context. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213, 1009-1017.

Baldan-Ramsey, L.C., Sinha, S., & Hurley, L.M. (2010). 5-HT1A and 5-HT1B receptors differentially modulate rate and timing of auditory responses in the mouse inferior colliculus. European Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 368-379.