Joel I. Berger

The University of Iowa

About Me

My primary research area is auditory neuroscience. I have a fascination with understanding how sound is represented within the brain, both in the presence of external stimuli and in the absence of an objective stimulus, as is the case with subjective tinnitus. As a musician, I have experienced first-hand the power that auditory stimuli can have on the brain. I am interested in furthering our understanding of basic neuroscience and translating this into benefits for patients, utilising the latest tools in intracranial ECoG, behavioural neuroscience, PET and source space EEG. My years of experience in Matlab analysis help me greatly in this endeavour.

I am currently a postdoctoral research scientist in the Department of Neurosurgery at The University of Iowa, in the Human Brain Research Laboratory of Matt Howard, MD. I work closely with Phillip Gander PhD (University of Iowa) and Tim Griffiths MD (Newcastle University). I obtained my BSc from the University of Lincoln (UK) in 2008, where I graduated with first class honours. My dissertation assessed the association between obsessive-compulsiveness and cognitive dissonance. Subsequently, I received my PhD from the University of Nottingham in 2014, under the supervision of Prof. Alan Palmer and Dr Mark Wallace. My thesis was on the behavioural and neural correlates of tinnitus. My first postdoctoral position was at the MRC Institute of Hearing Research, also under the supervision of Prof. Alan Palmer.

CV (pdf)

Recent work

  • Kumar S, Gander PE, Berger JI, Nourski KV, Oya H, Kawasaki H, Howard MA, Griffiths TD (in prep) Oscillatory correlates of auditory working memory examined with human electrocorticography.
  • Hockley A, Berger JI, Palmer AR and Wallace MN (in prep) The role of nitric oxide in the gain control of the ventral cochlear nucleus of guinea pigs with tinnitus.
  • Wilson CA, Berger JI, de Boer J, Sereda M, Palmer AR, Hall DA and Wallace MN (under review) Using gap-induced inhibition of the post-auricular muscle response as an objective measure of tinnitus in humans. Progress in Brain Research.
  • Sedley W, Alter K, Gander PE, Berger JI, Griffiths TD (2019) Exposing pathological sensory predictions in tinnitus using auditory intensity deviant evoked responses. Journal of Neuroscience 39(50) 10096-10103.
  • Hockley A, Berger JI, Smith PA, Palmer AR, Wallace MN (2019) Nitric oxide regulates the firing rate of neuronal subtypes in the guinea pig ventral cochlear nucleus. European Journal of Neuroscience.
  • Wilson CA, Berger JI, de Boer J, Sereda M, Palmer AR, Hall DA and Wallace MN (2019) Gap-induced inhibition of the post-auricular muscle response in humans and guinea pigs. Hearing Research 374, 13-23.
  • Palmer AR and Berger JI (2019) Changes in the inferior colliculus associated with hearing loss: noise induced hearing loss, age-related hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis. Oxford Handbook of the Auditory Brainstem (Oxford University Press).



  • Contact Me

    email: first hyphen last at

    Joel I. Berger, PhD
    Dept of Neurosurgery
    1800 JPP
    The University of Iowa
    Iowa City, IA

    Links: Human Brain Research Laboratory; Auditory Cognition Group