Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology
Director, Translational Research Center
With more than 28 years of training and experience in biomedical research, I have adopted an array of scientific approaches to solve significant biological problems. My current focus is on translational research, particularly in developing new therapies for the treatment and prevention of hearing loss and tinnitus. My diverse research portfolio encompasses both animal and human studies, providing a unique opportunity to create novel therapies for both disorders. One of my current research areas is to develop a personalized medicine approach for the prevention of age-related hearing loss using pharmacogenomics, the study of how genes affect a person’s response to certain drugs. Another major finding from my laboratory was that antiepileptic drugs can be used to prevent and treat hearing loss. Recently, I have organized a team of multidisciplinary co-investigators from both academe and industry for two ongoing funded projects to study cisplatin-induced and noise-induced hearing loss.
Area of Expertise/Research Interests
My primary research focus is to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying synaptopathy, which contributes to hearing disorders such as hearing loss and tinnitus. I am also interested in creating translational tools for developing new therapies against the most prevalent hearing disorders affecting Americans today.
- 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)