By Yishane Lee
On March 8, 2016, Hearing Health Foundation hosted a live-video research briefing, as part of an ongoing effort to provide regular updates on our research programs and progress. Through these briefings, our goal is for our attendees to learn new information and achieve a greater understanding of hearing loss, prevention, and to o develop effective therapies for hearing loss and tinnitus.
Peter Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D., the scientific director of the Hearing Restoration Project (HRP), began the webinar with announcing the newest HRP consortium member, Ronna Hertzano, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Maryland. Ronna is a clinician as well as a research scientist, a rare combination and an asset for the HRP. She also developed a bioinformatics platform, gEAR, that the HRP is using to efficiently compare large, complex genetic datasets between species.
Dr. Barr-Gillespie went on to outline a year in the life of the HRP—how the investigators collaborate, discuss, and develop research projects. He then provided an overview of a currently funded project focused on examining whether genes can be manipulated to overcome a block to hair cell regeneration in mammals, including humans. The advancements in technologies, such as CRISPR gene modification, provides the HRP with the ability to study hair cell regeneration in different species and at a level of detail and manipulation unheard of before.
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Hair cell regeneration is a plausible goal for eventual treatment of hearing and balance disorders.
The question is not if we will regenerate hair cells in humans, but when.
However, we need your support to continue this vital research and find a cure!
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