Graduate Student, Program in Neuroscience
BA in Neuroscience, Rutgers University
Spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) are key mediators of the sense of hearing; through them, sound information is transferred from hair cells to higher-level processing centers in the CNS. Recent studies have shown that SGNs may be the primary cellular target for both age-related and noise-induced hearing loss. In fact, although hair cells often recover after an acoustic insult, loud noises damage SGN processes, inducing them to retract and undergo a long, slow process of degeneration. Identifying the pathways that keep SGNs alive would offer a new window of opportunity for diminishing the long term effects of noise exposure.
Our lab has identified the zinc-finger transcription factor Gata3 as a potential regulator of protective genes that promote SGN survival during development and throughout life. Through the use of Gata3 conditional knock-outs, in-vitro survival assays, and imaging techniques, I aim to investigate how the connectivity and overall health of SGNs are maintained through a lifetime of activity.
What superpower do you wish you had?
The power of persuasion
Which historical figure would you like to have dinner with, and what would you ask?
Kaiser Wilhelm II: 'Was it worth it?'