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Auditory Development and Restoration Program

Michael Hoa, M.D., Otolaryngology Surgeon-Scientist

Research Statement

The Auditory Development and Restoration Program investigates the development and function of adult cochlear cell types and the pathophysiological processes that result in their structural and functional degeneration. The long-term goal of the laboratory is to establish a basis for hearing restoration in the adult inner ear.

The endocochlear potential (EP) is essential for proper hair cell function and hearing. The structure and function of the lateral wall of the cochlea is central to the generation of this endocochlear potential. With this in mind, the lab seeks to understand (1) the genetic mechanisms responsible for generation of the endocochlear potential and the necessary cell-type specific context of these genetic mechanisms in the stria vascularis; and (2) the mechanisms responsible for EP degeneration. Pathophysiology of the lateral wall has been implicated in age-related hearing loss (presbycusis), sudden sensorineural hearing loss, Ménière's disease, DFN3, and a diverse spectrum of inherited disorders, including Jervell and Lange-Nielson syndrome, Bartter syndrome, SeSAME syndrome, and Waardenburg syndrome. Ultimately, the lab’s research seeks to improve our understanding of the development and function of the stria vascularis. Investigations may provide insight into hearing loss related to pathology in the cochlear lateral wall, as well as potential avenues for therapeutic targeting of this pathology.

The model system used to study the stria vascularis in the cochlear lateral wall is the mouse. The stria vascularis is composed of 3 cell layers consisting of marginal cells on the luminal surface, intermediate cells in central layer, and basal cells in the basolateral layer. The intermediate cell is fundamental to the generation of the EP, but it is the close interaction between the 3 cell types that results in a fully functional organ. To investigate these interactions, the lab uses a combination of single-cell mRNA-sequencing, bioinformatics, fluorescent-activated cell sorting (FACS), adult and perinatal immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy, animal auditory function testing, pharmacology, and molecular biology techniques.

Lab Personnel

Selected Publications

Last Updated Date

September 14, 2016