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Research Projects

Photograph: Smith Lab Presentation, 2011

REU Project 11—Gene expression during auditory hair cell regeneration in zebrafish—Dr. M.E. Smith, Biology Department

Auditory hair cells are the sensory cells that transduce acoustical signals into neural ones in vertebrates, thus providing the ability to hear. In mammals, when these terminally-differentiated cells are damaged or lost, the result is permanent hearing loss since lost mammalian hair cells do not regenerate. In fish and birds, damaged auditory sensory epithelia can regenerate new hair cells, resulting in recovery of hearing. Recent studies from my lab show that fish exhibit both structural (hair cells) and functional (hearing) recovery following noise exposure. To fully understand what normal cellular processes lead to regeneration in fishes, knowledge of how specific genes mediate hair cell growth (proliferation and transdifferentiation) and apoptosis is essential. The overall goal of this project is to study the process of hair cell death and regeneration in zebrafish, since zebrafish have become a productive model for studying the gene expression of many cellular pathways. These studies will provide a basis for future investigation in hair cell regeneration research and may be critical in establishing a link between hair cell proliferation and development of new therapeutics to treat deafness.

Related Publications:

  1. *Schuck, J.B. and Smith, M.E. 2009. Cell proliferation follows acoustically-induced hair cell bundle loss in the zebrafish saccule. Hearing Research 253:67-76;
  2. *Schuck, J.B., *Lin, C-H., Penberthy, W.T., Li, X., and Cooper, N.G.F., Smith, M.E. 2009. Microarray analysis and quantitative real-time PCR validation of gene expression during auditory hair cell regeneration in zebraf-ish (Danio rerio). BMC Bioinformatics 10 (Suppl 7):A12;
  3. *Schuck, J.B., Smith, M.E., Li, X., and Cooper, N.G.F. 2008. Microarray analysis of gene expression during auditory hair cell regeneration in zebrafish (Danio rerio). BMC Bioinformatics 9 (Suppl 7):P15;
  4. Smith, M.E., *Coffin, A.B., *Miller, D.L., and Popper, A.N. 2006. Anatomical and functional recovery of the goldfish (Carrasius auratus) ear following noise exposure. Journal of Experimental Biology 209:4193-4202;
  5. Smith, M.E., Kane, A.S., and Popper, A.N. 2004. Acoustical stress and hearing sensitivity in fishes: does the linear threshold shift hypothesis hold water? Journal of Experimental Biology 207:3591-3602;
  6. Popper, A. N., *Fewtrell, J., Smith, M. E. and McCauley, R. D. 2004. Anthropogenic sound: effects on the behavior and physiology of fishes. Marine Technology Society Journal 37:33-38.

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 Last Modified 9/25/14