Research in the Tempel lab uses genetics as a starting point to study the neurobiology of hearing loss. The complex structure of the auditory system and its demand for fast and precise signaling to the brain is the likely reason why there are such a large number of different genes that contribute to hearing loss. The fact that auditory system malfunctions are not lethal to either humans or mice makes genetic analysis of hearing loss a particularly useful way to probe the biological basis of hearing loss and deafness. Unfortunately, high penetrance in humans results in hearing loss in upwards of 50% of the population at age 65, having an enormous social impact as well as significant economic consequences. Detailed studies on each gene that contributes to hearing loss provides information on the basic biology of how hearing happens and informs how hearing loss might be ameliorated in affected individuals. Ongoing projects include: 1. Calcium regulation in hair cell stereocilia and auditory neuron synapses; 2. Potassium channels in auditory encoding and epilepsy; 3. Genes contributing to noise resistance and age related hearing loss.
Copyright © 2003-2013 Molecular & Cellular Biology Program, University of Washington
Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center | University of Washington
Institute for Systems Biology | Seattle Biomed