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The Deafness group at Harwell is led by Professor Steve Brown, with Dr Mike Bowl and Dr Derek Hood leading on the Sensorineural hearing loss and Otitis media sub-groups, respectively. 

Steve Brown (left) 

I did my PhD at Cambridge University and before I joined the MRC, I was Professor of Genetics at Imperial College, London.

My research interests cover mouse functional genomics, including the use of mouse mutagenesis and comparative genomic analysis to study the genetic basis of disease and to develop pre-clinical disease models. A particular focus has been the use of mouse models to study the molecular basis of genetic deafness. Along with Karen Steel, I discovered myosin VIIA as the gene underlying the shaker1 mutant, one of the first deafness genes to be identified. Subsequently, I have developed interests in the protein complexes that are involved with stereocilia elongation in hair cells in the inner ear. In addition, over the last ten years I have led a substantial research effort in the genetics of otitis media or glue ear, a common cause of hearing loss in children, employing mouse models to elaborate the key genetic pathways involved and develop novel therapeutic strategies. 

I have served on numerous advisory boards and my current appointments include the Advisory Council for the National BioResource Centre, Japan; SAB for the Helmholtz Centrum, Munchen; SAB for the Centre Intégratif de Génomique (CIG), University of Lausanne; and the Strategic Policy Committee, IGBMC, Strasbourg. I am the current Chair of the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium Steering Committee.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation and in 2009 was the recipient of the Genetics Society Medal.

In my spare time, I love travelling and exploring new destinations with my family, drinking wine, enjoying good food and reading (sometimes about wine as well!).

Derek Hood (top right)

I am a Senior Investigator Scientist at MRC Harwell. I am a microbiologist by training and since 2013 I have led a research programme that aims to utilise mouse models to study infectious and chronic middle disease (otitis media) that is associated with this most common cause of hearing loss in children. Genetically altered mice with otitis media allow us to investigate the genetics and pathways associated with the disease and infection with human bacterial otopathogens enable studies of host-microbial interactions and the immunobiology of acute infection. The mouse models also provide a useful means to test novel therapies to improve or prevent otitis media. 

I obtained my BSc degree from the University of Edinburgh and my PhD degree from the University of Warwick. My interests outside work include doing things with the family, cycling, badminton, watching sport, cooking and reading. 


Mike Bowl (bottom right) 

I am a Programme Leader Track Scientist at MRC Harwell. Since 2010, I have led a programme of research that aims to utilise mouse models to study the genetic bases and pathologies associated with hearing loss. Using both phenotype- and gene-driven approaches my team elaborate upon the mechanisms underlying this very common condition, with a longer-term view that increased understanding of these molecular pathways will lead to therapeutic opportunities. I obtained my BSc and MPhil(Res) degrees from the University of Birmingham, and my DPhil in Molecular Genetics from the University of Oxford. When not at work I love spending time with my family, especially walking our dogs, as well as running, cycling and allotment gardening.



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