Graduate Training in Neuroscience
University of Washington
Edwin W. Rubel
Professor of Physiology & Biophysics, Otolaryngology-HNS, and Adjunct Professor of Psychology
Our research programs endeavor to understand cellular processes underlying the development of information processing in the auditory system. Anatomical, physiological, and acoustical methods are used to examine development of cellular mechanisms underlying acoustic signal processing by the inner ear. Parallel studies using both in vivo and in vitro preparations examine the factors that influence growth of connections in the brain stem auditory pathways.
A second research program addresses the problem of how experience influences brain development. Using manipulations of the amount and pattern of neuronal activity impinging on neurons in the brain stem auditory system, we study the cellular nature of signals that influence the growth and maintenance of neuronal and glial elements.
A third research program stems from the recent discovery that birds can regenerate inner ear receptor cells (hair cells) following noise- or drug-induced hearing loss. Ongoing studies are aimed at determining the cellular and molecular events responsible for initiating hair cell regeneration.
Stereocilia on an auditory hair cell. Pseudocolored scanning EM image.