"How Cochlear Biophysics Tunes Mammalian Hearing" by John Oghalai (Stanford University)

Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Thursdays, 4:00-5:00 pm

1-434 Physics and Astronomy (map)
Reception from 3:30-4:00 p.m.
(unless otherwise posted)

Guest Speaker: John S. Oghalai (Stanford University)

Talk Title:  “How Cochlear Biophysics Tunes Mammalian Hearing”


The exquisite sensitivity and frequency discrimination of mammalian hearing derive from force generation by cochlear outer hair cells (OHCs), which amplifies the traveling wave with high gain and sharp tuning. Measurements of basilar membrane vibration demonstrate that these two properties are intimately connected, and the commonly-held notion is that both derive from OHCs. Our lab uses optical coherence tomography to measure sound-induced vibrations within the mammalian cochlea without opening the bone that surrounds it, thus minimizing artifacts. With this approach, we can measure not only classical basilar membrane vibratory tuning curves but also vibratory responses from the rest of the tissues that compose the organ of Corti. Furthermore, we study transgenic mice with targeted mutations that affect different biomechanical aspects of the organ of Corti to localize the underlying processes that produce amplification with sharp tuning. We use these experimental data to understand how gain and frequency tuning are created within the mammalian cochlea. The goal of this work is to understand the fundamental biophysical changes in cochlear function that underlie sensorineural hearing loss and to develop treatments to fix and/or overcome them.

For more information, contact Jay Hauser

We thank the following people for their contributions to the wine fund for the post-colloquium reception:
Prof. Dolores Bozovic, Prof. Robijn Bruinsma, Prof. Wesley Campbell, Prof. Bob Cousins, Prof. Jay Hauser, Prof. Eric Hudson, Robert Huff, Prof. HongWen Jiang, Prof. Alex Kusenko, Prof. John Miao, Prof. George Morales, Prof. Pietro Musumeci, Prof. Christoph Niemann, Prof. Rene Ong, Prof. James Rosenzweig, Prof. David Saltzberg, and Prof. Jean Turner.

1-434 PAB