Faculty Spotlight – Raju Metherate, Ph.D.
Professor Raju Metherate is a neuroscientist in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior (NBB), and is the new Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education for the School of Biological Sciences at UCI. Professor Metherate, a faculty member at UCI for over two decades, has focused his research on understanding the workings of the auditory cortex. His lab has developed techniques to study cell signaling within the auditory cortex, which led to the discovery of a novel function for nicotinic signaling in the processing of auditory information. Currently, a major project in Professor Metherate’s lab seeks to confirm if compounds that target the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor can serve as the first-ever drug treatment for central auditory processing disorders. If successful, his work could lead to treatments that help millions of individuals with learning deficits associated with disrupted auditory processing.
Professor Metherate first worked at UCI as a lecturer in NBB in 1990 before heading to UC Riverside, and was a postdoctoral researcher with the NBB founding faculty member Norman M. Weinberger. He was recruited back to UCI in 1995 as an Assistant Professor in NBB. Shortly thereafter, he developed his auditory cortex model, and began working to better understand the role of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in auditory processing. In 2000, Professor Metherate helped found the first Research Unit in Hearing and Speech Sciences, and in 2005, he became the founding director of the Center for Hearing Research.
In addition to his tenure as a faculty member, Professor Metherate has served in several high level administrative positions at UCI. He has worked as the Vice-Chair of NBB, and continues to serve as the Director of the Interdisciplinary Training Program in Hearing Research. While Vice-Chair of NBB, he oversaw the instruction and development of the department’s teaching assistants, and worked diligently to improve the undergraduate student experience in the department.
Along with his successful research program and excellent administrative history, Professor Metherate has also been a dedicated teacher and mentor. He has taught numerous courses while at UCI, including long tenures teaching introductory neurobiology, and brain and behavior. He has also helped educate many doctoral and master graduates who themselves have gone on to pursue successful careers as science educators and researchers. His dedication to the success of his students is what led him to become the new Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education.