Ohlemiller lab partners with startup to help patients with hearing loss

Sensorineural hearing loss in humans, caused by degeneration of the sensory hair cells of the inner ear, is not a recoverable injury. Mammalian hair cells do not regenerate like many other cell types. A collaboration between Kevin Ohlemiller, PhD, and a private biotech company hopes to change that. In 2015, a new start-up, Frequency Therapeutics, […]

Otolaryngology researchers present latest science at ARO meeting

Faculty, research staff, and one resident presented their latest science at the 2020 Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO). This annual meeting is the largest assembly of hearing scientists in the world and features primarily basic and applied science related to hearing, deafness and balance. Overall, 1,328 abstracts were submitted. The […]

Medical students present, earn recognition at national conference

Med students pose with Triologic poster

Medical students working in research labs in the Department of Otolaryngology recently presented and earned recognition at the Triological Society’s Combined Sections Meeting, a national conference that features all otolaryngology specialties. Erik Nakken (Washington University School of Medicine) and Smrithi Chidambaram (St. Louis University School of Medicine) scored first place for their poster presentation, Sociodemographic […]

Noise-induced hearing loss blocked with drug compound

photo of fluorescent sensory hair cells and nerve fibers

The laboratory of Mark Rutherford, PhD, contributed to studies that show noise-induced hearing loss can be blocked while allowing hearing to continue. The work was published in the Feb. 3, 2020 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Popular YouTube science news channel SciShow has also reported on the story. Read more […]

Studying the impact of reward on speech processing

Neuroscientist Jonathan Peelle, PhD, was awarded a one-year $479,000 grant from the National Institute on Aging to look at the influence of reward and motivation in speech processing. The project, called, “Age-related changes in language processing,” will study whether offering listeners explicit rewards result in greater speech intelligibility among older adults. The study is a […]

Exploring the tiny world of auditory neuroscience

Mark Rutherford and student Heather Chung review TEM photos

Washington University undergraduate Heather Chung works with Mark Rutherford, PhD, to test synapse loss.  The Rutherford lab studies the smallest parts of the ear called synapses. Synapses are the sites of communication between two neurons or between a neuron and a sensory receptor cell. New biological imaging techniques have made these structures much easier to […]

Using zebrafish as a model for human hearing and deafness

Hair cells are the exquisitely sensitive and inexhaustible sensory receptors of the auditory and vestibular systems. They function by transducing mechanical stimuli, such as sound, into nerve impulses that transmit sensory information to the brain. Features of hair cells that make them incredibly effective detectors of sound also make them vulnerable to damage from noise […]

$10 million to study noise-induced hearing loss

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received $10.5 million from the Department of the Army to investigate whether an anti-seizure drug can prevent noise-induced hearing loss when given several hours before exposure to extremely loud noise.   Read more

Revealing the intricacies of inner ear drug delivery

If you wake up one morning with sudden deafness, experience dizziness as a result of Meniere’s disease, or if you have cochlear implant surgery, your doctor may choose to treat your ear with a locally applied drug. One limitation of this new approach is that most of the drugs in use have been repurposed from […]