Drug delivery to treat hearing loss

Supervisors: A/Prof Andrew Wise

Recent discoveries have shown that the synaptic connections between sensory hair cells and neurons in the inner ear are susceptible to damage from ageing and noise-exposed. This type of damage leads to hearing impairment with particular problems of understanding speech in noisy environments, tinnitus and/or hyperacusis. There are currently no approved drug treatments that can prevent or repair hearing loss once it has occurred.

This project will focus on developing a treatment for hearing loss. We have recently made significant progress in the development of a nanoparticle-based drug delivery system that overcomes some of the barriers for drug delivery to the inner ear. The project will involve in vivo deafness models to characterise the drug delivery system and to test its safety and efficacy in repair hearing loss. The project will use a diverse range of experimental techniques including drug pharmacokinetics, behavioural, electrophysiological and histological techniques.

The project involves a multidisciplinary team of researchers with skills in biomedical and chemical engineering, molecular biology, systems physiology and clinical research.

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

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