Richard Daniel Mooney

Richard Daniel Mooney

George Barth Geller Professor for Research in Neurobiology

External Address: 
Bryan Research Building, 311 Research Drivebox 3209, Durham, NC 27710
Internal Office Address: 
Box 3209, Durham, NC 27710


Our broad research goal is to understand the neural mechanisms by which experience guides learning, behavior, and perception. Our group explores the structure and function of sensorimotor circuits important to learned vocal communication in the songbird and to auditory-motor integration in the mouse. In the course of these explorations, my research group has developed a wide range of technical expertise in both avian and mouse models, including in vivo multiphoton neuronal imaging, chronic recording of neural activity in freely behaving animals, in vivo and in vitro intracellular recordings from identified neurons, and manipulation of neuronal activity using electrical, chemical and optogenetic methods. Our group also has extensive experience with viral transgenic methods to manipulate gene expression, including genes implicated in human neurological disorders. Together, these methods provide a broad technical approach to identify the neural circuit mechanisms important to vocal learning, auditory perception and communication.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology 1991

Selected Grants

Neurobiology Training Program awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2024

Using Genetic Tools to Dissect Neural Circuits for Social Communication awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2023

Medical Scientist Training Program awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 1997 to 2022

Training Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2001 to 2022

Auditory cortical processing of self-generated vocalizations awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2022

Mechanisms for internally and externally guided sensorimotor learning awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2021

Neural Codes for Vocal Sequences awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2020

Organization and Function of Cellular Structure awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 1975 to 2020

Organization and Function of Cellular Structure awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 1975 to 2020

Representation of self and other in mirror neurons in the song sparrow awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2020


Tschida, Katherine, et al. “A Specialized Neural Circuit Gates Social Vocalizations in the Mouse..” Neuron, vol. 103, no. 3, Aug. 2019, pp. 459-472.e4. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2019.05.025. Full Text

Tanaka, Masashi, et al. “A mesocortical dopamine circuit enables the cultural transmission of vocal behaviour..” Nature, vol. 563, no. 7729, Nov. 2018, pp. 117–20. Pubmed, doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0636-7. Full Text

Schneider, David M., et al. “A cortical filter that learns to suppress the acoustic consequences of movement..” Nature, vol. 561, no. 7723, Sept. 2018, pp. 391–95. Epmc, doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0520-5. Full Text

Schneider, David M., and Richard Mooney. “How Movement Modulates Hearing..” Annu Rev Neurosci, vol. 41, July 2018, pp. 553–72. Pubmed, doi:10.1146/annurev-neuro-072116-031215. Full Text

Lu, Jinghao, et al. “MIN1PIPE: A Miniscope 1-Photon-Based Calcium Imaging Signal Extraction Pipeline..” Cell Rep, vol. 23, no. 12, June 2018, pp. 3673–84. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2018.05.062. Full Text

Mooney, Richard. “The Song Remains the Same..” Trends Neurosci, vol. 41, no. 4, Apr. 2018, pp. 167–70. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.tins.2018.02.006. Full Text

Hisey, Erin, et al. “A common neural circuit mechanism for internally guided and externally reinforced forms of motor learning..” Nat Neurosci, vol. 21, no. 4, Apr. 2018, pp. 589–97. Pubmed, doi:10.1038/s41593-018-0092-6. Full Text

Roberts, Todd F., et al. “Identification of a motor-to-auditory pathway important for vocal learning..” Nat Neurosci, vol. 20, no. 7, July 2017, pp. 978–86. Pubmed, doi:10.1038/nn.4563. Full Text

Hamaguchi, Kosuke, et al. “A Distributed Recurrent Network Contributes to Temporally Precise Vocalizations..” Neuron, vol. 91, no. 3, Aug. 2016, pp. 680–93. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2016.06.019. Full Text

Nelson, Anders, and Richard Mooney. “The Basal Forebrain and Motor Cortex Provide Convergent yet Distinct Movement-Related Inputs to the Auditory Cortex..” Neuron, vol. 90, no. 3, May 2016, pp. 635–48. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2016.03.031. Full Text