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      Establishing a new model of noise-induced hearing loss

      This is a PhD studentship being carried out by Camille Tardieu, in the laboratory of Dr Joerg Albert, at the University College London Ear Institute. She started work on the project in October 2014 and will finish in September 2017.

      Background

      The study of fruit flies (Drosophila) is providing us with valuable insights into diverse areas of neuroscience, including hearing. Their hearing is very similar, at the molecular level, to ours.

      We know very little about the processes that underlie noise-induced hearing loss. So Camille is characterising and measuring the specific impact of loud noise on the hearing of fruit flies, to try to develop a new 'model' of noise-induced hearing loss.

      Aim

      Camille will use a broad range of techniques to define the sequence of events that leads to noise-induced hearing loss in fruit flies. The overall aim is to establish Drosophila as a 'model system' for noise-induced hearing loss and to use it to rapidly progress our understanding of this type of hearing loss.

      ‘In the long term, this project could open up new avenues of study to increase our understanding of noise-induced hearing loss. It has the potential to produce a new generation of therapeutics to treat it.’

      Impact

      In the short term, Camille will establish Drosophila as a system that can be used as a model of noise-induced hearing loss in humans. In the longer term, as it is easy to manipulate genes in Drosophila, the study could open up new avenues of exploration to increase our understanding of the processes responsible for noise-induced hearing loss. Ultimately, it has the potential to lead to a new generation of therapeutics.