Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology
Director, Translational Research Center
With more than 20 years of research experience in hearing disorders, my initial research interest lies in understanding molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity, and particularly injury-induced or age-related synaptic loss. I have focused on the auditory system, which its functional changes can be repeat measured both in humans and in animal models, and its synaptic loss in the cochlea can also be precisely quantified by both well-established functional and histological methods. With close interactions with clinicians and researchers at both academic and industrial institutions, we have recently expended to translational studies of FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of hearing loss due to aging, noise exposure, or both. One translational project that I organized with multiple co-investigators from both basic research and clinical fields led to identify drug candidates, and one of them is now in a clinical phase II trial.
Area of Expertise/Research Interests
Currently, by working closely with well-established experts in the fields of hearing disorders, we are applying AI-based methods to identify early biomarkers for clinical diagnosis of hearing disorders with both animal models and patient populations.
- Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of Florida, Gainesville, 1992
- 2016 – 2017 – Cell and Molecular Neuroscience Graduate Course, Northeast Ohio Medical University
- 2008 – 2014 – Ph.D. Graduate Training Program, Nanjing University
- 2006 – 2014 – Course Co-director, Program in Audiology and Communication
Sciences (PACS) Research Seminar (551), Washington University in St. Louis
- 2005 – 2014 – Biomedical Research Apprenticeship Program, Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis
- 2005 – 2014 – Summer Undergraduate Student Research Experiences Pilot Program, Center for Aging, Washington University in St. Louis
Academic & Professional Activities
- 2015 – Present: Member of the University Faculty Compensation Oversight Body, Northeast Ohio Medical University
- 2012 – 2015: Member of ARO Program Organizing Committee
- 2008: Member of Animal Studies Committee, Washington University in St. Louis
- 2004: Founding Member, Center for Aging Pilot Summer Undergraduate Research Experience Program, Washington University in St. Louis
- 2004: Steering Committee Member, Washington University in St. Louis, Center for Aging
- NIH/NIDCD (R41 DC016842): “Developing a nutraceutical product against noise-induced hearing loss”
- NIH/NIDCD (R42 DC016575) “Develop a new cisplatin-based drug combination with reduced ototoxicity”
- NIH/National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) (R41 AT008922) “Preclinical testing of tetrandrine against noise-induced hearing loss”
- Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-Up Fund “Development of a new commercial kit for screening cell-specific gene therapy vector”
- NIH/NIDCD (R01 DC011793) “Amelioration of presbycusis by blocking T-type calcium channels with antiepileptic drugs”
- 2008 National Organization for Hearing Research Foundation Award
- 2007 Independence Blue Cross Award in Auditory Science
- 2003 The McDonnell Foundation Award
- 1993 Diamond Fellowship, Stanford University
- 1992 Michael Goldberger Award, American Neurotrauma Society
- 2017 “Repurposing drugs for hearing disorders,” Yangtze River Pharmaceutical Group, Taizhou, China.
- 2017 “One new pharmaceutical intervention for noise-induced hearing loss” 40th Annual Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO) Midwinter Meeting, Baltimore, MD.
- 2016 “Neuregulin-1 signaling in hippocampus contributes to tinnitus,” 10th International Tinnitus Research Initiative Conference, Nottingham, England.
- 2013 “Hearing loss: from preclinical studies to personalized medicine,” Department of Biology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.
- 2013 “Calcium signaling in noise-induced loss of ribbon synapses,” Ribbon Synapses International Symposium 2013, Göttingen, Germany.
- Discovering a family of FDA-approved drugs to prevent both age-related and noise-induced hearing loss (Hearing Research, 2013, 304:33)
- Discovering a novel signaling important for converting differentiated cells into stem cells (Stem Cells, 2011, 29:1963)
- Discovering an independent age-related loss of cochlear synapses and neurons (Neurobiology of Aging, 2011, 32:2321)
- Uncovering a novel signaling pathway for cochlear synaptic plasticity after noise exposure (Nature Neuroscience, 2004, 7:1250)