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Dr. McDonogh studies what happens to support cells after hair cells are lost in order to see if these cells dedifferentiate towards a more progenitor-like state. In addition, her group is involved in analyzing the genes that regulate hair cell regeneration in chickens.
Dr. Bermingham-McDonogh, Ph.D., is a research assistant professor of otolaryngology/head & neck surgery. She studies the genetics of development of the cochlea of the inner ear with the goal of contributing to therapies for hearing loss. Specifically, she examines the role of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) in the development of specific cell types, including Pillar cells, which support auditory hair cells. FGF mutations can cause profound deafness. Bermingham-McDonogh is also interested in determining what factors prevent hair cells from regenerating after damage in mammals, as they do in birds and lower vertebrates.