Dr Ralph Holme, our Director of Research and Insight, and Dr Catherine Perrodin, our Translational Research Manager, are on their way to Orlando, Florida, to represent RNID at the 2023 MidWinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology.
The Association was founded in 1973, with a mission to encourage and promote hearing research to make fundamental discoveries and develop ground-breaking treatments that improve people’s quality of life.
Building links with the research community
Through our research programme, we work to speed up the development of treatments that can prevent hearing loss, restore or improve hearing, and silence tinnitus. We fund research around the world towards this aim and bring together the wider community of people working to develop treatments to encourage collaboration and make it easier to get new treatments into the clinic where they’re needed.
We’re attending the ARO meeting so that we can promote our work to the hearing and tinnitus research community. We hope to meet some of the scientists we’re funding, and tell researchers about how we can help them through our funding schemes and our Hearing Therapeutics Initiative. We’ll also find out about the latest scientific discoveries in the hearing and tinnitus research fields and hope to build stronger links with the wider research community.
Some of our researchers
There will be over 1800 researchers at the 5-day conference, including many scientists that we’ve supported who will be sharing their latest findings. RNID-funded researchers include:
- Dr Bob Carlyon – he’s working to understand the changes that happen in the brain after someone receives a cochlear implant. This is important to help us understand why some people get more benefit from their cochlear implants than other people, and identify ways we could try to improve outcomes for everyone.
- Dr Sharon Curhan – she’s trying to understand more about the underlying biology of tinnitus. By studying ‘metabolites’, small molecules found in the blood that reflect a person’s metabolism (all the chemical reactions taking place inside the body), she’s trying to find to characteristic ‘markers’ of different types of tinnitus. This could ultimately lead to targeted, effective treatments for tinnitus.
- Professor Sally Dawson – her team is working to understand the link between hearing loss and dementia, looking for evidence of common inherited causes that might underlie both hearing loss and dementia, using data from the UK Biobank. She’s also using UK Biobank data to investigate whether other factors, such as cardiovascular health, might play a role.
- Professor Corne Kros – his team is working to understand how ototoxic (ear-toxic) drugs, such as aminoglycoside antibiotics and the anti-cancer drug cisplatin, damage hair cells. They’re investigating the role of a protein structure called a VRAC, found in hair cells, in this process. This could lead to a way to protect people’s hearing when being treated with these life-saving drugs.
- Dr Erik de Vrieze and his team are developing a genetic therapy to protect the hearing of people born with an inherited form of progressive hearing loss. Erik works with mice that carry the same gene that causes this hearing loss in people. Through our Translational Grants scheme, we and our partner Fondation Pour l’Audition are now funding these researchers as they fine-tune a new gene-therapy molecule for people that will prevent degradation to the inner ear.
As you can imagine, Ralph and Catherine are looking forward to a busy trip. We’ll share an update next week, alongside some fresh science news, and pictures – stay tuned!