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Lisa L. Cunningham, Ph.D.
NIDCD Scientific Director / Director, Division of Intramural Research
Chief, Laboratory of Hearing Biology and Therapeutics
Chief, Section on Sensory Cell Biology
Dr. Cunningham received a B.A. and M.A. in audiology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She completed a clinical fellowship in audiology at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. She received a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Virginia and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in auditory neuroscience at the University of Washington in Seattle. After her postdoc, Dr. Cunningham joined the faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina, where her lab conducted the initial studies on heat shock protein (HSP)-mediated protection against ototoxic drug-induced hearing loss and hair cell death. This work was funded by a Research Project Grant (R01) from the NIDCD.
Dr. Cunningham moved to the NIDCD's Section on Sensory Cell Biology in 2011, and she became a tenured senior investigator in 2014. Her lab conducts basic, translational, and clinical studies on hair cell degeneration and hearing loss in the mature inner ear and develops therapeutic strategies to safeguard hearing:
- Basic science studies in the lab examine the mechanisms that underlie sensory hair cell death and survival.
- Translational studies in the lab use this mechanistic knowledge to guide the rational design of therapies aimed at preventing or reversing hearing loss in humans.
- Clinical studies in the lab test the efficacy of potential protective therapies in humans receiving ototoxic drugs.
Section on Sensory Cell Biology
Mechanosensory hair cells that are the receptor cells of hearing and balance
A complete list of publications is available at NCBI's MyBibliography.
- Fernandez, KA; Allen, P; Campbell, M; Page, B; Townes, T; Li, CM; Cheng, H; Garrett, J; Mulquin, M; Clements, A; Mulford, D; Ortiz, C; Brewer, C; Dubno, JR; Newlands, S; Schmitt, NC; Cunningham, LL (2021). Atorvastatin is associated with reduced cisplatin-induced hearing loss. J Clin Invest. Jan 4;131(1):e142616. doi: 10.1172/JCI142616. PMID: 33393488.
- Gersten, BK; Fitzgerald, TS; Fernandez, KA; Cunningham, LL (2020): Ototoxicity and platinum uptake following cyclic administration of platinum-based chemotherapeutic agents. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. Aug;21(4):303-321. doi: 10.1007/s10162-020-00759-y. PMID: 32583132
- Sadler, E; Ryals, MM; May, LA; Martin, D; Welsh, N; Boger, ET; Morell, RJ; Hertzano, R; Cunningham, LL (2020): Cell-specific transcriptional responses to heat shock in the mouse utricle epithelium. Front Cell Neurosci. May 15;14:123. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2020.00123. eCollection 2020. PMID: 32528249
- Fernandez, K; Spielbauer, KK; Rusheen, A; Wang, L; Baker, TG; Eyles, S; Cunningham, LL (2020): Lovastatin protects against cisplatin-induced hearing loss in mice. Hear Res. Apr;389:107905. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2020.107905. PMID: 32062294
- Breglio, AM; May, LA; Barzik, M; Welsh, NC; Francis, SP; Costain, TQ; Wang, L; Anderson, DE; Petralia, RS; Wang, YX; Friedman, TB; Wood, MJ; Cunningham, LL (2020): Exosomes mediate sensory hair cell protection in the inner ear. J Clin Invest. May 1;130(5):2657-2672. doi: 10.1172/JCI128867. PMID: 32027617
- Fernandez, K; Wafa, T; Fitzgerald, TS; Cunningham, LL (2019): An optimized, clinically relevant mouse model of cisplatin-induced ototoxicity. Hear Res. Apr;375:66-74. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2019.02.006. PMID: 30827780
- Ryals, M; Morell, RJ; Martin, D; Boger, ET; Wu, P; Raible, DW; Cunningham, LL (2018): The inner ear heat shock transcriptional signature identifies compounds that protect against aminoglycoside ototoxicity. Front Cell Neurosci. Nov 23;12:445. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2018.00445. eCollection 2018. PMID: 30532693
- Cunningham, LL and Tucci, DL (2017): Hearing loss in adults. New England Journal of Medicine. Dec 21;377(25):2465-2473. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra1616601. PMID: 29262274.
- Breglio, AM; Rusheen, AE; Shide, ED; Fernandez, KA; Spielbauer, KK; McLachlin, KM; Hall, MD; Amable, L; Cunningham, LL (2017): Cisplatin is retained in the cochlea indefinitely following chemotherapy. Nature Communications. Nov 21;8(1):1654. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01837-1.
- Francis, SP and Cunningham, LL (2017): Non-autonomous cellular responses to ototoxic drug-induced stress and death. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. 23 Aug 2017. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2017.00252.
- Isgrig, K; Shteamer, JR; Belyantseva, IA; Drummond, MC; Fitzgerald, TS; Jones, SM; Griffith, AJ; Friedman, TB; Cunningham, LL; Chien, WW (2017): Gene therapy restores balance and auditory functions in a mouse model of Usher syndrome. Molecular Therapy 25(3):780. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2017.01.007
- Zhu, B; Saleh, J; Isgrig, K; Cunningham, LL; Chien, WW (2017): Hearing loss after round window surgery in mice is due to middle ear effusion. Audiology & Neurotology 21:356. doi: 10.1159/000449239.
- Chien, WW; Isgrig, K; Roy, S; Belyantseva, I; Drummond, MC; May, LA; Fitzgerald, TS; Friedman, TB; Cunningham, LL (2016): Gene therapy restores hair cell stereocilia morphology in inner ears of deaf whirler mice. Molecular Therapy February 24:1. doi: 10.1038/mt.2015.150.
- Baker, TG; Roy, S; Brandon, CS; Kramarenko, IK; Francis, SP; Taleb, M; Marshall, KM; Schwendener, R; Lee, F-S; Cunningham, LL (2015): Heat shock protein-mediated protection against cisplatin-induced hair cell death. J. Assoc Res Otolaryngol 16:67-80.
- Chien, WW; Monzack, EL; McDougald, D; Cunningham, LL (2015): Gene therapy for sensorineural hearing loss. Ear and Hearing 36(1):1.
- Cunningham, LL and Tucci, DL (2015): Restoring synaptic connections in the inner ear after noise damage. New England Journal of Medicine 372(2):181. Invited review.
- Wang, T; Chai, R; Kim, GS; Pham, N; Jansson, L; Nguyen, D-H; Kuo, B; May, LA; Zuo, J; Cunningham, LL; Cheng, AG (2015): Damage-recruited Lgr5+ cells regenerate hair cells via proliferation and direct transdifferentiation in neonatal mouse utricle. Nature Communications.
- Chien, WW; McDougald, D; Roy, S; Fitzgerald, TS; Cunningham, LL (2015): Cochlear gene transfer mediated by adeno-associated virus: comparison of two surgical approaches. Laryngoscope.
- Monzack, EL; May, LA; Roy, S; Gale, JE; Cunningham, LL (2015): Live imaging the phagocytic activity of inner ear supporting cells in response to hair cell death. Cell Death and Differentiation doi: 10.1038/cdd.2015.48.
- Drummond, MC; Barzik, M; Bird, JE; Zhang, D-S; Lechene, CP; Corey, DP; Cunningham, LL; Friedman, TB (2015): Live-cell imaging of actin dynamics reveals mechanisms of stereocilia development and homeostasis in the inner ear. Nature Communications 6:6873.
- Monzack, EL and Cunningham, LL (2013): Lead roles for supporting actors: Critical roles for inner ear supporting cells. Hearing Research 303:20-9.
- Roy, S; Ryals, MM; Botty, A; Fitzgerald, TS; Cunningham, LL (2013): Sound preconditioning therapy in mice inhibits ototoxic hearing loss. J. Clinical Investigation 123(11):4945–4949.
- May, LM; Kramarenko, II; Brandon, CS; Voelkel-Johnson, C; Roy, S; Truong, K; Francis, SP; Monzack, EL; Lee, F-S; Cunningham, LL (2013): Inner ear supporting cells protect hair cells by secreting HSP70. J. Clinical Investigation 123(8):3577–3587.
- Brandon, CS; Voelkel-Johnson, C; May, LA; Cunningham, LL (2012): Dissection of adult mouse utricle and adenovirus-mediated supporting cell infection. Journal of Visualized Experiments. 61, doi:10.3791/3734. Published online 28 March 2012.
- Francis SP; Kramarenko II; Brandon CS; Lee FS; Baker TG; Cunningham LL (2011). Celastrol inhibits aminoglycoside-induced ototoxicity via heat shock protein 32. Cell Death & Disease 2, e195; doi:10.1038/cddis.2011.76. Published online 25 August 2011.
- Taleb, M; Brandon, CS; Lee, F-S; Harris, KC; Dillmann, WH; Cunningham, LL(2009): Hsp70 inhibits aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss and cochlear hair cell death Cell Stress Chaperones 14:427-437.