Auditory hair cells in the inner ear are connected to the brain by several nerve fibres that are morphologically and functionally diverse. Their diversity allows us to distinguish different sound intensities. Some of these fibres are more vulnerable to noise damage and ageing, resulting in hearing loss. We study the genes that make some of these fibres more vulnerable to damage than others, which is essential for devising early diagnostic and treatments for hearing impairment. Click here to find out more.
It is crucial to understand hearing function and dysfunction caused by noise exposure or ageing. This allows us to identify the genes and related pathways involved in the development and function of the hair cells and their auditory neurons. At Sheffield we use single neuron RNA Sequencing, epigenetics and electrophysiology to better understand and identify those pathways.