The research division of Otology includes the laboratories of Dr. Yale Cohen, Dr. Steven Elliades, Dr. Maria Geffen and Dr. Daqing Li. The Cohen Lab examines how the brain combines sensory, motor, and cognitive cues to form internal computational models of the external world. Specifically, they focus on understanding the representation of auditory information in the cortex, how auditory information is integrated with cognitive processes, such as attention, decision making, motor planning, or memory, and how auditory and visual information is combined to form unified sensory percepts. pic-001Dr. Elliades is interested in how different brain areas are involved in processing the sounds that we hear. His group is particularly interested in how these different brain regions interact to help support vocal communication, a complex process that involves both production and perception of communication sounds. Such communication behaviors are important for the survival of a species, and understanding them can yield important insight into human communication including speech and language. They approach these problems using multiple methods, including research in both humans and vocal primates, combining neurophysiologic techniques with behavioral measurements, computational tools, and engineering approaches. Dr. Geffen is developing a quantitative understanding of the neuronal circuits supporting dynamic auditory perception, through a combination of behavioral, electrophysiological, optogenetic, imaging and computational approaches in mice and, through collaboration, in humans. These studies will identify the neuronal circuits that support learning-driven changes in auditory perception; understand the dynamics of population neuronal code that supports hearing in complex acoustic environments; and identify the development of brain mechanisms underlying development of perception of environmental sounds and speech. These studies have led to a number of cutting edge publications recognized for their impact in the field of neuroscience published in high impact journals in the field. Dr. Li is a leader in cochlear ear implantation. He studies how to effectively treat or prevent SNHL since the development of the CI. As SNHL mainly corresponds to pathology of the cochlea, his research interest is focused on the treatment of different inner ear diseases. Cisplatin is the first-line treatment for many types of cancer, however cisplatin-induced ototoxicity results in permanent inner ear damage and SNHL. The high rate of cisplatin-induced ototoxicity can interrupt or alter the use of the chemotherapeutic, or cause a significant decrease in quality of life if treatment persists. Cisplatin-induced ototoxicity represents an important challenge to patient care because of the lack of effective treatment.

Otology Research Physicians