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Dr. Rubel uses a wide variety of methods and numerous preparations to better understand development, plasticity, pathology, and potential repair of the inner ear and auditory pathways of the brain. His group investigates both the fundamental neurobiology of hearing and translational opportunities of the present and future that are directed toward preventing and curing hearing loss and balance disorders.
Anatomical, physiological, and acoustical methods are used to examine development of frequency representation and the cellular mechanisms underlying acoustic signal processing by the inner ear. Parallel in vivo and in vitro studies examine the factors that influence growth of axons and the formation of axonal arborizations in the brainstem auditory pathways. Rubel also researches the problem of how experience influences brain development by studying the cellular nature of signals that influence the growth and maintenance of neuronal and glial elements. The fact that birds spontaneously regenerate inner ear receptor cells (hair cells) following noise- or drug-induced hearing loss generated physiological, morphological, and cellular studies to search for the signals that induce regeneration. The goal is to extend the capacity for regeneration to the mammalian inner ear.
University of Washington • Center on Human Development and Disability • Box 357920 • Seattle WA 98195-7920 USA • 206-543-7701 • email@example.com
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