Gene therapy for restoring hearing

Supervisors: A/Prof Rachael Richardson

Sensorineural hearing loss is often ignored until it affects people’s everyday lives. By then there is often significant and (currently) irreversible loss of hair cells and degeneration of auditory neurons. Our recent research has demonstrated that gene therapy in the cochlea can prevent auditory neuron degeneration and even regenerate hair cells after deafness.

This project aims to determine whether: (i) Gene therapy is effective in preventing loss of hair cells and auditory neurons after the onset of deafness, and; (ii) Gene therapy can restore hearing after deafness by regenerating lost hair cells and auditory neurons.

We are now embarking on new projects that will investigate:

  • Neurotrophin gene therapy for hair cell and auditory neuron protection in progressive hearing loss models;
  • Atoh1 gene therapy for hair cell regeneration using in vitro and in vivo models of hearing loss;
  • The clinical safety of gene therapy in the cochlea

This project will suit a student with a background in physiology, cell biology, neuroscience, biomedical science or genetics.

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