Hearing loss is the most common sensory disorder in humans. At present, it is estimated that over 360 million people worldwide suffer from complete or partial deafness, with one in six people in the UK experiencing some form of the condition.
The auditory system is extremely complex, with a wide range of genes and molecular pathways involved in auditory development, function and hearing. Although half of all cases of hearing impairment are believed to have a genetic basis, to date, only a relatively small proportion of deafness-causing genes have been identified. We remain ignorant of many aspects of the molecular and genetic mechanisms of auditory transduction.
We study mouse models of hearing loss to identify and understand the function of genes involved in auditory transduction. Importantly, these studies will also help provide insights into potential therapeutic targets and new strategies for treating hearing loss.
Our research encompasses the genetic, molecular, cellular and physiological mechanisms underlying two major types of hearing impairment – sensorineural deafness and otitis media.