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Dr. Oesterle’s research interests include the anatomy and physiology of the inner ear. The discovery that non-mammalian vertebrates can regenerate sensory hair cells (auditory and vestibular hair cells) after damage suggests the possibility of therapies eventually being developed to treat hearing and balance disorders in humans. Her current research is aimed at identifying factors that can stimulate inner ear sensory epithelial cells to re-enter the mitotic cycle and stimulate the production of new receptor cells (hair cells).
Oesterle’s research uses cell culture, immunocytochemical, and molecular techniques to identify growth factors and other molecules that can stimulate the production of new hair cells in mature animals (birds and rodents). She is also identifying endogenous negative regulators of stem cell/progenitor cell proliferation in these tissues. Oesterle hopes to provide information that will aid in the development of therapies to alleviate sensori-neural hearing disorders.
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