Elmhurst, Illinois – January 21, 2020 – The American Hearing Research Foundation (AHRF) announced that in January 2020, it awarded twelve grants to investigators who are exploring hearing and balance disorders of the inner ear. AHRF awarded close to $300,000 in grant monies in 2020.
AHRF Research Chair Donna Whitlon, PhD, commented, “Several studies we chose to fund show real promise in improving the quality of life for people who experience hearing and balance losses. Others will further our understanding of the cellular processes involved with hearing. These projects were chosen for the impact we believe they will have.”
Eight grants of $20,000 to $45,000 were awarded, plus four grants of $1,000 each for otolaryngology residents. The studies address drugs that one day may offer protection from noise, or treat conditions such as Usher Syndrome. Two projects address Meniere’s disease; one will further understanding of the disease pathology while the other explores a potential treatment. One study examines noise-induced cellular damage of the auditory pathway, while another looks for links between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease.
In 2020, four otolaryngology residents received a Bernard & Lottie Drazin Resident Grant. AHRF offers this grant program to encourage individuals who might pursue a career in hearing and balance research. Each year AHRF offers up to five $1,000 awards to otolaryngology residents at specific institutions. Residents in their third year of otolaryngology programs are required to conduct basic science or clinical research projects.
The 2020 grant recipients, academic institutions, and research projects are:
AHRF Regular Grants ($20,000 to $45,000)
- Rachael R. Baiduc, PhD, MPH; Melinda Anderson, PhD, CCC-A; University of Colorado Boulder; Sex Differences in the Association between Hearing Loss and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Burden
- Monita Chatterjee, PhD; Boys Town National Research Hospital, Nebraska; Age-Related Changes in the Perception of Emotional Speech with Cochlear Implants
- Allison B. Coffin, PhD; Washington State University; AMPA receptor-mediated glutamate excitotoxicity and noise-induced synaptic damage
- Benjamin Johnson, MD; University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center / Case Western Reserve University; Antimalarial Artesunate as a Novel Treatment to Mitigate Hearing Loss Associated with Usher Syndrome Type IIIA
- Habib G. Rizk, MD; Medical University of South Carolina; Assessing the Efficacy of a Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor for Improving Meniere’s Disease Outcomes
- Tal Teitz, PhD; Creighton University, Nebraska; Repurposing an FDA Approved Drug Dabrafenib for Protection from Noise-induced Hearing Loss
- Jing Zheng, PhD; Northwestern University; Investigating functions of a cilium protein in vestibular system
Meniere’s Disease Grant ($25,000)
- Dhasakumar S. Navaratnam, MD, PhD; Yale University; Defining the molecular and cellular basis of Meniere’s disease using single cell RNA sequencing
Bernard & Lottie Drazin Memorial Grants for Otolaryngology Residents ($1,000)
- Stefania Goncalves, MD; University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Laminin-coated Cochlear Implant Electrodes can Promote Schwan Cell Dedifferentitation, Migration and Guide Neural Axon Growth In Vitro
- Matthew T. Maksimoski, MD; Northwestern University; Long term outcomes from gamma knife treatment for vestibulocochlear nerve schwannomas in a large, tertiary care, academic hospital
- Cody Jeu, MD; University of Illinois at Chicago; A cochlear implant simulation study to determine the effects of transposing frequencies on binaural benefits
- Michael Ghiam, MD; University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Utility of Perilymph microRNA Sampling for Identification of Active Gene Expression Pathways in Sensorineural Hearing Loss
AHRF is a nonprofit organization that has been making new discoveries possible for more than 60 years by funding novel research to better understand and overcome hearing and balance disorders of the inner ear. Since 2010, the organization has funded 95 projects with nearly $2.3 million in research grants.