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Razak received his doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Wyoming and is now an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Riverside. Razak’s 2018 Emerging Research Grant is generously funded by the General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons International.

Brain plasticity is the major topic of interest in my research career. When it comes to presbycusis (age-related hearing loss), we know there are changes in cellular and circuit mechanisms in the auditory system. But the relative contributions of brain aging and hearing loss are not easy to disambiguate. To do this, we will compare genetically engineered, age matched mice with one group experiencing presbycusis and a second group that ages without considerable hearing loss. We will measure spectrotemporal processing—the processing of sounds with complex changes in frequency over time, such as speech processing.

Understanding how the auditory system processes behaviorally relevant sounds and how such processing changes during development, or as a result of disorders with communication implications, are long-term goals of this project. I hope to contribute new data regarding auditory processing in the aging brain and to determine how hearing loss contributes to aging trajectories. I also hope to develop therapeutic strategies to delay or prevent central auditory processing decline due to presbycusis.

My dream as a child was to play cricket for India, and I actually made it to the university level! But I became seriously interested in science while working on my senior thesis, which was to develop a texting device (this was in the early ’90s!) for the hearing impaired. It used push-button phones to encode English letters to be transmitted through a regular landline. A decoder at the receiving end would display the text. We tested a prototype in a school for deaf children in Chennai, India, sparking my interest in hearing and
auditory processing.

Having worked in hearing science since 1996, I’d say a career highlight is receiving the National Science Foundation Career Award in 2013. It considers research as well as research/education integration, and I am passionate about both aspects. I also enjoy taking photos. Thinking about their composition makes me stop and look at a subject from multiple perspectives—I find that it’s not unlike examining research data.

Khaleel Razak, Ph.D.’s grant is generously funded by the General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons International. HHF thanks the Royal Arch Masons for their ongoing commitment to research in the area of central auditory processing disorders (CAPD).

Click to download a PDF of Dr. Razak's Meet the Researcher profile.