The Cochlear Neurotransmission Group studies the generation and propagation of neural signals in the inner ear. Our laboratories use biophysical, electrophysiological, molecular biological and histological methods to determine fundamental molecular mechanisms by which neurotransmitters are released from primary sensory cells (‘hair cells’) to excite second order neurons carrying information to the brain. We apply these same techniques to study inhibitory feedback produced by brain neurons that project to and regulate the sensitivity of the cochlea.
Our studies concentrate on the properties of voltage and/or ligand-gated ion channels and transporters expressed in hair cells, neurons and supporting cells of the cochlea. Ion channels, neurotransmitter receptors and transporters are therapeutic targets for the treatment of virtually all diseases of the nervous system.
Discoveries from this laboratory will help advance therapeutic approaches to hearing loss by identifying these essential molecules and defining their functional roles in the cochlea.
Learn more about recent findings on afferent synapses and efferent synapses.
Capital Science Lecuture - Watch Paul Fuchs, Ph.D. talk about How the Ear Hears, and Sometimes Doesn’t
NPR "Talk of the Nation" - January 23, 2009: New Research Towards Hearing Loss Pill
Listen to Paul Fuchs, Ph.D., talk about research into a protein found on sensory hair cells in mouse ears that enabled mice to withstand loud noises, and how it could one day help human ears.
Paul A. Fuchs, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Elisabeth Glowatzki, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery