"Control of Auditory Neurons via Light Gated Channels following Deafness."
Dr. Holt is an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine. She has begun to expand her studies of leak potassium channels (K2PDs) to examine the role of differential expression K2PDs on the excitability of specific cell types. Dr. Holt is adapting a live fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) method to study the functional profile of auditory neurons expressing K2PDs in a live preparation. Dr. Holt’s previous studies underscore the importance of maintaining the balance between inhibition and excitation in the auditory system. Changes in this balance can lead to disorders such as tinnitus (sound in the absence of stimulus). Models of noise-induced tinnitus exhibit increased spontaneous activity of neurons in the auditory brainstem. Future studies include developing a blastwave model of tinnitus and identifying biomarkers used to determine the effectiveness of therapies designed to attenuate symptoms of tinnitus, a highly relevant condition to our military troops. Most recently, Dr. Holt has transfected auditory neurons with light gated channels specific for depolarizing or hyperpolarizing neurons and is designing implantable remote controlled electrodes to emit specific wavelengths of light for control of light gated channels. The data resulting from Dr. Holt’s program will provide knowledge for creation of the best possible foundation for re-introduction of hearing via modulation of neuronal excitability with novel electrodes or therapeutic targets. These studies focused on understanding the balance between inhibition and excitation in the auditory brainstem can be globally applied to deafness related conditions such as tinnitus as well as other conditions.
Project Name: "Control of Auditory Neurons via Light Gated Channels following Deafness"
Location: Wayne State University, School of Medicine