School of Biological Sciences

Christine Portfors

Name: Christine Portfors
Field of Study: Neurophysiology, Bat biology
Title: Associate Professor
Degrees: Ph.D., Biology, York University
Homepage: Click
Office: Vancouver
Phone: 360-546-9434
Fax: 360-546-9064
Mailing Address: Washington State University-Vancouver
14204 NE Salmon Creek Avenue
Vancouver WA 98686-9600

Research Interests

My long term research goals are to understand how complex sounds are processed by the auditory system and to determine how age-related hearing loss impacts this processing. To achieve these goals, I utilize a systems-level neuroethological approach that makes use of my broad academic training from behavior to neurophysiology and neuroanatomy. I use natural vocalizations to probe the neural mechanisms underlying encoding of species-specific vocalizations in the auditory brainstem, midbrain and cortex of awake animals. I employ both mustached bats and mice as model systems because of their rich repertoires of complex species-specific vocalizations and my ability to record from individual neurons under awake conditions in these animals. I enhance the strength of my research program through strong collaborations with computational neuroscientists and neuroanatomists. My research at WSU Vancouver has been generously funded by NIH and NSF.

Representative Publications

Holmstrom, L., Eeuwes, L.B., Roberts, P.D. and Portfors, C.V. (2009). Efficient encoding of behaviorally relevant sounds in the auditory midbrain. Journal of Neuroscience. To appear.

Portfors, C.V., Jonson, K.G.** and Roberts, P.D. (2009). Over-representation of species-specific vocalizations in the awake mouse inferior colliculus. Neuroscience, 162, 486-500.

Holmstrom, L.*, Kim, S., McNames, J. and Portfors, C.V. (2009). Stimulus design for auditory neuroethology using state space modeling and the extended Kalman smoother. Hearing Research, 247, 1-16

Roberts, P.D. and Portfors, C.V. (2008). Design principles of sensory processing in cerebellum-like structures. Early stage processing of electrosensory and auditory objects. Biological Cybernetics, 98, 491-507.

Holmstrom, L.*, Roberts, P.D. and Portfors, C.V. (2007).  Responses to social vocalizations in the inferior colliculus of the mustached bat are influenced by secondary tuning curves. Journal of Neurophysiology, 98, 3461-3472.

Felix, R.A*. and Portfors, C.V. (2007). Excitatory, inhibitory and facilitatory frequency response areas in the inferior colliculus of hearing impaired mice. Hearing Research. 228, 212-229.

Portfors, C.V. and Roberts, P.D. (2007). Temporal and frequency characteristics of cartwheel cells in the dorsal cochlear nucleus of the awake mouse. Journal of Neurophysiology. 98, 744-756.

Portfors, C.V. (2007). The Nuclei of the Lateral Lemniscus: Two Functional Systems. In: The Senses: A Comprehensive Reference, Vol. 3 Audition. (eds. P. Dallos and D. Oertel, editors), Academic Press, San Diego, pp. 751-758.

Hoxeng, C.M.*, Apling, M.**, Ritson, P.I. and Portfors, C.V. (2007). Light-tagging disrupts social dynamics of bat harems. Acta Chiroptologica, 9,161-169.

Portfors, C.V. (2007). Types and functions of ultrasonic vocalizations in laboratory rats and mice. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, 46, 28-34.

Roberts, P.D., Portfors, C.V., Sawtell, N. and Felix II, R.* (2006). Model of auditory prediction in the dorsal cochlear nucleus via spike-timing dependent plasticity. Neurocomputing, 69, 1191-1194.

Marsh, R., Nataraj, K., Gans, D., Portfors, C.V. and Wenstrup, J. (2006). Auditory responses in the cochlear nucleus of awake mustached bats: precursors to spectral integration in the auditory midbrain. Journal of Neurophysiology, 95, 88-105.

Portfors, C.V. and Felix II, R.A.* (2005). Spectral integration in the inferior colliculus of the CBA/CaJ mouse. Neuroscience, 136, 1159-1170.

Portfors, C.V. and Sinex, D.S. (2005). Processing of communication sounds. The Inferior Colliculus. (eds. J. Winer and C. Schreiner), Springer-Verlag. pp. 411-425.

Portfors, C.V. (2004). Combination sensitivity and processing of communication calls in the inferior colliculus of the Moustached Bat Pteronotus parnellii. Anais da Academia Brasileira de CiênciasAnnals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, 76, 253-258.

Portfors, C.V. and Wenstrup, J.J. (2002). Excitatory and facilitatory frequency response areas in the inferior colliculus of the mustached bat. Hearing Research, 168, 131-138.

Portfors, C.V. and Wenstrup, J.J. (2001). Topographical distribution of delay-tuned responses in the inferior colliculus of the mustached bat. Hearing Research, 151, 95-105

Portfors, C.V. and Wenstrup, J.J. (2001). Responses to combinations of tones in the nuclei of the lateral lemniscus. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, 2, 104-117.

Portfors, C.V., Fenton, M.B., Aguiar, L.M.S., Baumgarten, J.E., Vonhof, M.J., Bouchard, S., de Faria, D.M., Pedro, W.A., Rautenbach, I.L. and Zortea, M. (2000).  Bats from Fazenda Intervales, southeastern Brazil – species account and comparison between different sampling methods. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia, 17, 533-538.

Portfors, C.V. and Wenstrup, J.J. (1999). Delay-tuned neurons in the inferior colliculus of the mustached bat: Implications for target distance analyses. Journal of Neurophysiology, 82, 1326-1338.

* undergraduate student; ** graduate student.

School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, PO Box 644236, Pullman WA 99164-4236, 509-335-3553, Contact Us
The SBS main office is located in 312 Abelson Hall on the Pullman campus.