Searle Building Room 12-490
320 E Superior
Chicago IL 60611
Description of Interests
The long-term goal of my lab is to identify and investigate molecules that play important roles in mammalian hearing, thus to enrich our understanding of cochlear physiology, and to further develop a better strategy to prevent hearing loss. Outer hair cells (OHCs) are essential for providing high sensitivity and frequency selectivity of hearing. They are also the most vulnerable cells in the inner ear and are involved in most sensorineural hearing loss that affects the hearing of millions of people. It is known that OHC death is strongly connected with the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Yet, it is not fully understood why OHCs, as compared to other cells in the organ of Corti, are more vulnerable to ROS. The main function of OHCs is to amplify mechanical signals through their somatic electromotility. This exclusive property is executed by a unique motor protein called prestin (Zheng et al., Nature, 2000). We are currently investigating prestin’s protective role against oxidative stress in the ear using different prestin-expressing cell lines and prestin-knockout/prestin-knockin animal models. We are focused on understanding the molecular mechanism of motor protein prestin using various cellular, biochemical and molecular biological methods including high throughput small molecule compound library screening procedures. These studies will not only expand knowledge of prestin as the OHC-based cochlear amplifier at the molecular level, but also produce a deeper understanding of mechanisms associated with outer hair cells loss, and may offer new methods for the prevention of OHC damage.
Aging; Biochemistry: Proteins; Cell Biology; Communicable Diseases; Developmental Neurobiology; Genetics; Hearing; Neuroscience
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