Our laboratory studies the development and function of the inner ear, using the techniques of cell and molecular biology. We are interested in the developmental determination of cochlear cell phenotype, hair cell protection and regeneration, and the molecular basis transduction including cochlear mechanics, mechanotransduction channels, and outer hair cell electromotility.
Research interests: The middle and inner ear are essential for human communication. Our group studies the cellular and molecular bases for disorders of the peripheral auditory system, and also seeks to develop new therapies. Inner ear projects include identifying mechanisms that lead to the death of sensory cells and neurons of the inner ear; identifying transcriptional, epigenetic and signaling factors that influence the regeneration of sensory cells; and identifying signals that control inner ear neurite extension and fiber termination that can be used to guide sensory dendrites toward the electrode array of a cochlear implant. Middle ear projects include identifying novel therapeutic agents for otitis media; and identification of a unique transport pathway that supports drug delivery through the eardrum. Our studies employ a variety of methods including micropatterned substrates and microfluidics to identify guidance factors; mouse knockout models; gene arrays/RNAseq; and phage display of bioactive molecules.