Hearing impairment is the most frequent sensory defect in humans and is an economically and socially important cause of morbidity. Dramatic progress has been made in our understanding of hearing impairment through the mapping of more than 170 loci for non-syndromic hearing loss and the identification of more than 120 deafness-causing genes.  Scientists in the MORL have cloned or collaborated in the identification of more than 20% of these genes and are exploring new ways to treat hearing loss.

Current Researchers

  • Hela Azaiez – Studying age-related hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss, Mendelian hearing loss, genetic modifiers/promoters
  • Joseph Chin - Investigating the role of hidden heritability in different types of genetic hearing loss
  • Miles Klimara - Studying the transcriptome of cochlear hair cells at the single cell level to define isoform variability of deafness-associated genes
  • Jin-Young Koh - Characterizing the role of pendrin and the cellular mechanisms in SLC26A4-related hearing loss
  • Robert Marini - Developing variant annotation databases and underlying software in support of genetics research and clinical diagnostic services
  • Ryan Thorpe - Developing new diagnostic methods for children with hearing loss
  • Mallory Tollefson - Modeling variants of uncertain significance in deafness-associated genes
  • Daniel Walls - Analyzing transcript variation in noise-induced hearing loss and studying the impact of ethnicity on gene-specific audioprofiles
  • Monique Weaver - Identifying genetic modifiers that alter the severity of TECTA-related hearing loss
  • Maria Wong - Exploring mechanisms of CNV-related hearing loss

If you have hearing loss or you are a physician who has a patient with hearing loss and you are interested in evaluation for participation in our research studies please contact Amy Weaver (amy-weaver@uiowa.edu) or Dr. Richard Smith (richard-smith@uiowa.edu).

To be evaluated for research we require the following information:

  • A pedigree;
  • All available audiograms;
  • Clinical information related to your hearing loss;
  • Temporal bone imaging studies (if performed) report and images, if available.

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