Auditory Neuroscience Unit

Research Overview

The primary aim of the Auditory Neuroscience Unit is to provide a better understanding of the normal anatomy and physiology of the mammalian auditory system, with a view to designing intelligent therapies for those with hearing loss. Projects within the unit straddle basic, translational and clinical research and these can be tailored to suit those interested in either wet laboratory or clinical research.

Cochlear implants function by electrically stimulating residual auditory neurons to facilitate hearing in severe-to-profoundly deaf individuals. The efficacy of this device therefore depends on a critical number of surviving neurons. Stem cell transplantation therapy is emerging as a potential strategy for auditory nerve rehabilitation, as differentiated stem cells may provide a source of replacement auditory neurons to the deaf cochlea. The successful engraftment of stem cells into the cochlea requires both the directed growth of new processes and the formation of functional connections with existing structures, and we are investigating these questions using our published in vitro and in vivo experimental models. We are particularly interested in whether transplanted stem cells are capable of making functional connections in the cochlea and the brainstem, thereby restoring a functional neural circuit. In addition, we are currently developing new magnetic resonance imaging methods in order to visualize the integrity of the relevant structures in the mammalian and human auditory brainstem.

Staff

Collaborators

Funding

  • Garnett Passe & Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation
  • The National Health and Medical Research Council

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects



Faculty Research Themes

Neuroscience

School Research Themes

Sensory Neuroscience, Practice and service improvement



Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Bryony Nayagam

Department / Centre

Audiology and Speech Pathology

Unit / Centre

Auditory Neuroscience Unit