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NIDCD Hosts Former Sen. Thomas Harkin
Sen. Harkin (right) speaks with Dr. Kindt
during his visit to her lab.
On May 10, NIDCD Director James F. Battey, Jr, M.D., Ph.D., hosted former Sen. Thomas Harkin (D-IA) at the Porter Neuroscience Research Center on the NIH’s Bethesda, Maryland, campus. Sen. Harkin wrote the 1988 legislation that established the NIDCD. During his visit, Sen. Harkin also met with NIDCD Scientific Director Andrew Griffith, M.D., Ph.D, and toured three NIDCD laboratories. Lisa Cunningham, Ph.D., chief of the Section on Sensory Cell Biology, discussed her research on the cellular biology of the inner ear, which aims to preserve hearing in patients undergoing chemotherapy with ototoxic side effects. Katie Kindt, Ph.D., acting chief of the Section on Sensory Cell Development and Function, explained how her lab uses zebrafish as a model system to study how sensory hair cell synapses form and function; a goal of this research is to understand how to reform those structures after hearing loss. Tracy Fitzgerald, Ph.D., a staff scientist, showcased how the Mouse Auditory Testing Core Facility assists NIDCD investigators in testing auditory and vestibular function in animal models with hearing and balance disorders.