Donna S. Whitlon, PhD
“The anatomy of the cochlea, particularly the wiring of the local spiral ganglion neurons, captured my imagination over 35 years ago. Now, I am interested in a critical clinical question: How can we help to protect against or repair hearing loss? I have always appreciated the idea of this Foundation, its enthusiasm and its focus on stimulating new ideas and helping to get them off the ground.”
– Donna S. Whitlon, PhD
Initially trained in biochemistry, researcher-educator Donna S. Whitlon, PhD, brings over 35 years of experience in auditory neuroscience to her roles as AHRF Board member and Chairman of the Research Committee. As a Research Associate Professor in the Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Department at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Whitlon has aimed to find new interventions to prevent and repair damage to spiral ganglion neurons in the cochlea, a cavity in the inner ear essential for hearing. Through her research, she works to uncover new mechanisms of spiral ganglion neurite elongation in hopes of informing drug discovery. She has served as a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Whitlon has published dozens of articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. She is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State, and earned her PhD at University of Wisconsin-Madison.