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EARssentials: Techniques of Contemporary Hearing Research 2021

Confocal image of spiral ganglion neurons in a cross-section of a postnatal day 0 mouse cochlea.Source: Tessa Sanders, Ph.D.

P15 mouse inner hair cells of the organ of Corti used for immunofluorescent detection of actin filaments (shown in green, Phaloidin-488) and Eps8 (shown in red) by confocal microscopy superresolution imaging.Source: Ivan Rebustini, Ph.D.

Zebrafish neuromast with ribbon synapses.Source: Natalie Mosqueda

Join us for EARssentials 2021, to be held online July 19-23! EARssentials provides students with an overall conceptual view of the auditory system as well as exposure to laboratory techniques unique to research on the inner ear. In the eighth year of this free, week-long course, hosted and taught primarily by scientists at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), all sessions will be conducted virtually.

The primary audience for this course is new intramural NIDCD trainees, including postdoctoral, graduate, postbaccalaureate, and summer students. Scientists from other institutions are welcome to attend as well. The course is also useful for others who want to learn about concepts related to the auditory system.

This year, due to our inability to congregate in person, we will flip the traditional classroom lecture model. Participants will individually watch archived lectures from the 2016 EARssentials course and then come together to participate in live virtual lunchtime discussions (Eastern time) with course faculty. There will not be a hands-on laboratory component in 2021, but there will be a virtual mouse genetics lab, gEAR workshop, and the week will end with a live panel that explores current treatments for hearing loss and the careers of some of the clinician-scientists at the NIDCD.

If you would like to participate in this year’s virtual EARssentials course, please e-mail Karen Fischer before July 10 to register.

Course Schedule

Monday, July 19
Noon-1:30 p.m. Eastern: Discussion session covering the following topics. To participate, watch the video on these topics prior to the discussion. Video source: 2016 EARssentials course.

  • Course introduction.
  • Introduction to the auditory system.
  • Auditory mechanics and the traveling wave.
  • History of auditory research.

2:30-4:00 p.m. Eastern: Live virtual laboratory session: Introduction to gEAR workshop (registration required).


Tuesday, July 20
Noon-1:30 p.m. Eastern: Discussion session covering the following topics. To participate, watch the video on the vestibular system and development of the inner ear and the updated video on the spiral ganglion prior to the discussion. Video sources: 2016 and 2020 EARssentials courses.

  • Introduction to the vestibular system.
  • Development of the inner ear.
  • Spiral ganglion.

Wednesday, July 21
Noon-1:30 p.m. Eastern: Discussion session covering the following topics. To participate, watch the video on hair cell death and Part I video on mechanotransduction and the updated Part II video on mechanotransduction prior to the discussion. Video sources: 2016 and 2020 EARssentials courses.

  • The stereocilia bundle and mechanotransduction.
  • Hair cell death.

2:00-3:15 p.m. Eastern: Pre-lab lecture to introduce the Thursday or Friday laboratory on mouse genetics.


Thursday, July 22
9:00-11:00 a.m. Eastern: Live virtual laboratory session: Introduction to mouse genetics (registration required).

Noon-1:30 p.m. Eastern: Discussion session covering the following topics. To participate, watch the video on hair cell regeneration, ion channel biology, and efferent regulation of auditory function and the updated video on the hair cell synapse prior to the discussion. Video sources: 2016 and 2020 EARssentials courses.

  • Hair cell regeneration.
  • The hair cell synapse/efferent regulation of auditory function.

Friday, July 23
11:15 a.m.-noon Eastern: Discussion session covering the following topics. To participate, prior to the discussion, watch the lectures on the genetics of hearing loss and clinical treatments for hearing loss, as well as the updated video on zebrafish as a model for hearing and balance and the updated video on gene profiling and bioinformatics. Video sources: 2016 and 2021 EARssentials courses.

  • Zebrafish lateral line.
  • Genetics of hearing loss.
  • Clinical treatments.
  • Introduction to gene profiling and bioinformatics.

Noon-1:00 p.m. Eastern: Live clinical panel (registration required). The discussion will be driven by audience questions, but possible topics may include:

  • The latest advances in the treatment of hearing loss.
  • The unique rewards and challenges associated with a career as a clinician-scientist.

This session is part of the NIH Science at Home series.

2:00-4:00 p.m. Eastern: Live virtual laboratory session: Introduction to mouse genetics (registration required).

Event location:
Videocast (pre-recorded and live)
Event type:
NIDCD Event
Last Updated Date: