Otolaryngology and Communication Enhancement
Basic science and clinical research continues to be a major focus of the Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Enhancement. Gabriel Corfas, PhD, is the director of basic science research in Otolaryngology. His laboratory investigates the mechanisms that contribute to loss of hearing and balance with the aim of developing tools to treat these disorders.
Learn more about work underway in the Corfas Laboratory.
Other research in the Department includes:
- Studies of sensorineural hearing loss in children
- Studies of the evaluation of pediatric voice disorders
- Clinical applications of neuropsychological diagnostic measures for use with profoundly deaf children
- Establishment of a cochlear implant database
Gene therapy trial will attempt to restore hearing in deaf mice
Sound waves produce the sensation of hearing by vibrating hair-like structures on the inner ear’s sensory hair cells. But how this mechanical motion gets converted into electrical signals that go to our brains has long been a mystery.
“People have been looking for more than 30 years,” says Jeffrey Holt, PhD, of the Department of Otolaryngology at Children’s Hospital Boston. “Five or six possibilities have come up, but didn’t pan out.”
In the Journal of Clinical Investigation, team led by Holt and Andrew Griffith of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) demonstrated that two related proteins, TMC1 and TMC2, are essential for normal hearing – paving the way for a test of gene therapy to reverse a type of genetic deafness.