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Darlene Ketten

Darlene Ketten is a neuroethologist, studying how behavior is linked to
sensory system anatomy in various species. She started out to be a
Romance language specialist but discovered as an undergraduate that
biology opened many more mysterious worlds inside the heads of exotic
animals. While working on her doctorate at The Johns Hopkins Medical
Institutions, she began using computerized tomography (CT and MRI
scanning) to explore how biomedical imaging techniques could be used to
investigate how inner ears in different species are structured and
coupled to the rest of their heads. This led to micro-imaging work at
Harvard Medical School to improve diagnosis of causes of hearing loss in
human ears. In 1997, she joined the Biology Department of Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution and brought her combined backgrounds of
neuroethology and neuroradiology to bear on modeling hearing in marine
mammals based on their specialized auditory systemanatomy, and most
recently to analyzing potential effects of man-made noise inthe oceans.
In addition to basic research, she does specialty forensic analyses of
heads and necks of stranded animals for NOAA National Marine Fisheries
Service investigations. Although much of her work involves mathematical
models and 3D software, she has never lost her preference for working
directly on the “wetware.” Photo by Sam Ogden.