Dr Sonja Vernes:
UKRI Fellow

Dr Sonja Vernes

Dr Sonja Vernes
Harold Mitchell Building
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 9TH

room: HMB Room 306

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School of Biology
Centre for Biological Diversity
Biology Ethics Committee

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Sonja Vernes leads the Neurogenetics of Vocal Communication Research Group that studies the genetics of vocal communication in mammals, as a way to understand the evolution and biological basis of human speech and language.

My research program aims to understand the neuro-genetic mechanisms underlying the evolution and encoding of speech and language by studying key language-related traits such as vocal learning. My research uses diverse, interdisciplinary approaches including;

- clinical genetic analyses investigating the genetic causes of speech and language disorders in human cohorts

- omics approaches to discover novel genes involved in vocal learning in animal models including transcriptomics, network building and de novo genome sequencing (with the Bat1K genome sequencing consortium;

- molecular-genetic studies to examine the function of known language-related and vocal learning-related genes (e.g. those identified in clinical genetic studies)

- neurogenetic approaches to uncover vocal learning relevant circuits in a mammalian brain and create links between genes, neurobiology and vocal learning behaviour

- behavioural paradigms to determine the extent of vocal learning abilities in bat species as a model for mammalian vocal learning

This research program is pioneering the use of bats as the first tractable mammalian model of vocal learning in which it is possible to explore the neuro-genetic underpinnings of this complex behavioural trait. This highly interdisciplinary approach aims to answer fundamental questions about how vocal learning evolved, how it is biologically encoded, and inform our understanding of human spoken language and language disorders.



source: symbiosis

Recent Publications:

5 (of 45 /dk/atira/pure/researchoutput/status/published available) for scv1 (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
Please click title of any item for full details

DNA methylation predicts age and provides insight into exceptional longevity of bats Gerald S. Wilkinson, Danielle M. Adams, Amin Haghani, Ake T. Lu, Joseph Zoller, Charles E. Breeze, Bryan D. Arnold, Hope C. Ball, Gerald G. Carter, Lisa Noelle Cooper, Dina K. N. Dechmann, Paolo Devanna, Nicolas J. Fasel, Alexander V. Galazyuk, Linus Günther, Edward Hurme, Gareth Jones, Mirjam Knörnschild, Ella Z. Lattenkamp, Caesar Z. Li, Frieder Mayer, Josephine A. Reinhardt, Rodrigo A. Medellin, Martina Nagy, Brian Pope, Megan L. Power, Roger D. Ransome, Emma C. Teeling, Sonja Vernes, Daniel Zamora-Mejías, Joshua Zhang, Paul A. Faure, Lucas J. Greville, Steve Horvath
Nature Communications 2021 vol. 12
Hearing sensitivity and amplitude coding in bats are differentially shaped by echolocation calls and social calls Ella Z Lattenkamp, Martina Nagy, Markus Drexl, Sonja Vernes, Lutz Wiegrebe, Mirjam Knörnschild
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 2021 vol. 288
Towards complete and error-free genome assemblies of all vertebrate species Arang Rhie, Shane A McCarthy, Olivier Fedrigo, Joana Damas, Giulio Formenti, Sergey Koren, Marcela Uliano-Silva, William Chow, Arkarachai Fungtammasan, Juwan Kim, Chul Lee, Byung June Ko, Mark Chaisson, Gregory L Gedman, Lindsey J Cantin, Francoise Thibaud-Nissen, Leanne Haggerty, Iliana Bista, Michelle Smith, Bettina Haase, Jacquelyn Mountcastle, Sylke Winkler, Sadye Paez, Jason Howard, Sonja Vernes, Tanya M Lama, Frank Grutzner, Wesley C Warren, Christopher N Balakrishnan, Dave Burt, Julia M George, Matthew T Biegler, David Iorns, Andrew Digby, Daryl Eason, Bruce Robertson, Taylor Edwards, Mark Wilkinson, George Turner, Axel Meyer, Andreas F Kautt, Paolo Franchini, H William Detrich, Hannes Svardal, Maximilian Wagner, Gavin J P Naylor, Martin Pippel, Milan Malinsky, Mark Mooney, Robert S Harris
Nature 2021 vol. 592 pp. 737-746