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Sonja Vernes award

Dr Vernes in the labDr Sonja C Vernes (2003, DPhil Medicine), UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the University of St Andrews, is one of just nine scientists across the UK to be recognised in the prestigious 2022 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists.

Dr Vernes is being recognised for her groundbreaking investigations into the evolutionary and biological bases of speech and language, using bats as a model. By studying vocal learning in bats, her research is providing new insight into how genes and neural circuits affect vocal communication in mammals and speech in humans, how these traits evolved, and the connection between specific genes and severe speech disorders in humans.

Dr 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.
Her 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.

You can find out more here.

Published: 10 March 2022

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