Ian Hall, PhD

Ian Hall, PhD

Program Director Associate Professor

Phone: 630-829-6539
Office Location: Birck 337

BenU faculty member since 2016

Education and Experience
Assistant Professor, Benedictine University Department of Biological Sciences (present)
Visiting Assistant Professor, St. Mary’s College of Maryland Department of Biology 2015-2016
Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia University; Department of Biological Sciences 2010-2015
Ph. D. Indiana University Bloomington 2004-2010
Biology: Ecology, Evolution and Behavior; Minor: Neuroscience
B. S. cum laude University of Maryland Baltimore County 2000–2004
Biological Sciences; Minor: Chemistry

Publications ( * denotes undergraduate co-author)

  • Hall, Ian C., Sarah M. N. Woolley, Ursula Kwong-Brown*, Darcy B. Kelley (2016) Sex differences and endocrine regulation of auditory-evoked, neural responses in African Clawed Frogs (Xenopus). Journal of Comparative Physiology A. 202(1) 17-34.
  • Hall, Ian C., Irene H. Ballagh, Darcy B. Kelley (2013) The Xenopus amygdala mediates socially appropriate vocal communication signals. The Journal of Neuroscience. 33(36) 14534-14548.
  • Hall, Ian C., Gabrielle L. Sell*, Emily M. Chester and Laura M. Hurley (2012) Stress-evoked increases in serotonin in the auditory midbrain do not directly result from elevations in serum corticosterone. Behavioral Brain Research. 226(1):41-49.
  • Hurley, Laura M. and Ian C. Hall (2011) Context-dependent modulation of auditory processing in midbrain. Hearing Research. 279(1-2): 74-84.
  • Hall, Ian C., Gabrielle L. Sell* and Laura M. Hurley (2011) Social regulation of serotonin in the auditory midbrain. Behavioral Neuroscience. 125(4): 501-511.
  • Hall, Ian C., George V. Rebec and Laura M. Hurley (2010) Serotonin in the inferior colliculus changes with behavioral state and environmental stimuli. The Journal of Experimental Biology. 213: 1009-1017.
  • Hall, Ian C. and Laura M. Hurley. (2007) The serotonin releaser fenfluramine alters the auditory responses of inferior colliculus neurons. Hearing Research. 228(1-2): 82-94.

How does the brain generate social behavior? Successful social interaction requires the brain to receive and process sensory signals that communicate complex information and generate motor behavior fitting to the social context. My research examines social behavior from sensation to action, examining links between sensory and motor regions through the forebrain, and the role of these pathways in generating socially appropriate behavior. Key components of this network under investigation- the amygdala, basal ganglia, and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis- are similar across vertebrates in developmental origin, neurotransmitter types, and connectivity with sensory and motor systems. Though these regions have been most thoroughly studied in the auditory contexts of stress and threat detection, my primary interest is how they influence social interaction. I use African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis), a well-established NIH model organism of social vocal communication, to examine how auditory information influences vocal performance. Research in my lab uses a variety of behavioral and physiological approaches to investigate the neurochemical mechanisms and neuroanatomical pathways involved in perceiving and processing social cues, and regulating social behaviors.

Summer Research:

Ian Hall, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
[email protected]

Research Summary
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (ex. bisphenol A [BPA]) are widely distributed in our environment and there is continued concern over their impacts on human health. This lab has recently received funding from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the effects of BPA on the development of vocal behavior. The proposed experiments utilize the frog, Xenopus laevis as a model; these frogs use vocalizations to communicate and coordinate social interactions. Our goals are to investigate the relationship between long term, low dose BPA exposure and vocal development, and understand the potential mechanisms by which BPA causes these effects. The work this summer will largely focus on the quantification of the frog development and behavior. Later in the summer we may also be able to investigate some of the physiological mechanisms of vocal behavior, primarily through investigations of the brain and larynx. Students will be working in the lab and they will gain experience with animal husbandry, behavioral experiments, and multiple physiological preparations.