Friday, December 13, 2013

2013 CFAR grant recipients

Announcing the 2013 Capita Foundation Auditory Research Grant Recipients

Alain Dabdoub, Ph.D.
University of Toronto
Project:  “Induction of Cochlear Neurons by Defined Transcription Factors”
Auditory neurons (AN’s) play a critical role in hearing as they transmit sound information from the inner ear to the brain and their progressive degeneration is associated with disease conditions, excessive noise and aging.  AN’s are like most neurons in the brain, they lack the ability to regenerate.  Therefore, the loss of these cells leads to permanent hearing impairment and methods for inducing neuron replacement and regeneration have yet to be fully developed.

Daniel Bendor, Ph.D.
University College London


Project:  “Optimizing the Encoding of Temporal Information in an Auditory Cortical Prosthetic”

James Simmons, Ph.D.
Brown University
Project:  A Novel Biological Model for Protection from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss”
Bats live in close proximity to lots of other bats, and they regularly undergo prolonged exposure to intense sound at 80-110 dB SPL.  We found that big brown bats do not experience temporary or permanent threshold shifts (TTS, PTS) after exposure to intense noise at levels and durations that cause massive hearing losses in other mammals like humans, monkeys, cats, mice, and gerbils.  Can brown bats prove to be useful in providing a key to successful noise protection in humans? 
Kazuaki Homma, Ph.D.
Northwestern University
Project: “Investigating Prestin’s Role in Outer Hair Cell Survival”
The objective of this study is to investigate how prestin contributes to survival of outer hair cells, the outcome of which could allow development of a novel strategy to reduce hearing impairment.
Lina Reiss, Ph.D.
Oregon Health & Science University
Project:  “Effects of Changing Frequency-to-Electrode Maps on Electrode Pitch Plasticity and Discrimination with Cochlear Implants”
Our laboratory recently demonstrated that pitch perceived through a cochlear implant (CI) can change over time by as much as 2-3 octaves, and that these changes depend on how the CI is programmed.  We hypothesize that a novel method of CI programming will lead to increased pitch differences between electrodes, and that this increased pitch separation will improve both electrode discrimination and speech perception in noise.

Marc Bassim, Ph.D.
American University of Beirut – Medical Center 

Project:  Congenital Hearing Loss in the Middle East Area: Generating Patient-Specific iPS
The purpose of this project is to model the pathological processes of Congenital Hearing Loss in vitro. This will be done through establishing iPS cells from patients with Congenital Hearing Loss belonging to a highly consanguineous population and inducing their differentiation into sensorineural cells.