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Research in the Vestibular NeuroEngineering Lab (VNEL) focuses on restoring inner ear function through “bionic” electrical stimulation, inner ear gene therapy, and enhancing the central nervous system’s ability to learn ways to use sensory input from a damaged inner ear. VNEL research involves basic and applied neurophysiology, biomedical engineering, clinical investigation and population-based epidemiologic studies. We employ techniques including single-unit electrophysiologic recording; histologic examination; 3-D video-oculography and magnetic scleral search coil measurements of eye movements; microCT; micro MRI; and finite element analysis. Our research subjects include computer models, circuits, animals and humans. For more information about VNEL, click here.
VNEL is currently recruiting subjects for two first-in-human clinical trials:
1) The MVI Multichannel Vestibular Implant Trial involves implantation of a “bionic” inner ear stimulator intended to partially restore sensation... of head movement. Without that sensation, the brain’s image- and posture-stabilizing reflexes fail, so affected individuals suffer difficulty with blurry vision, unsteady walking, chronic dizziness, mental fogginess and a high risk of falling. Based on designs developed and tested successfully in animals over the past the past 15 years at VNEL, the system used in this trial is very similar to a cochlear implant (in fact, future versions could include cochlear electrodes for use in patients who also have hearing loss). Instead of a microphone and cochlear electrodes, it uses gyroscopes to sense head movement, and its electrodes are implanted in the vestibular labyrinth. For more information on the MVI trial, click here.
2) The CGF166 Inner Ear Gene Therapy Trial involves inner ear injection of a genetically engineered DNA sequence intended to restore hearing and balance sensation by creating new sensory cells (called “hair cells”). Performed at VNEL with the support of Novartis and through a collaboration with the University of Kansas and Columbia University, this is the world’s first trial of inner ear gene therapy in human subjects. Individuals with severe or profound hearing loss in both ears are invited to participate. For more information on the CGF166 trial, click here. view less
The mission of the laboratory of vestibular neurophysiology is to advance the understanding of how the body perceives head motion and maintains balance - a complex and vital function of everyday life. Although much is known about the vestibular part of the inner ear, key aspects of how the vestibular receptors perceive, process and report essential information are still mysterious. Increasing our understanding of this process will have tremendous impact on quality of life of patients with vestibular disorders, who often suffer terrible discomfort from dizziness and vertigo.
The laboratory group's basic science research focuses on the vestibulo-ocular reflexes - the reflexes that move the eyes in response to motions of the head. They do this by studying the vestibular sensors and nerve cells that provide input to the reflexes; by studying eye movements in humans and animals with different vestibular disorders, by studying effects of electrical stimulation of vestibular sensors, and b...y using mathematical models to describe these reflexes. Researchers are particularly interested in abnormalities of the brain's inability to compensate for vestibular disorders.
The Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute is dedicated to the study of the neural mechanisms of higher brain functions using modern neurophysiological, anatomical and computational techniques. Our researchers use various approaches to understand information processing and its influence on perception, memory, abstract thought, complex behavior and consciousness. Systems and cognitive laboratories use neurophysiology, brain imaging and psychophysics to develop a quantitative, network-level understanding of cognitive information processing. Other researchers use analytical approaches such as system identification, dimensionality reduction, information theory and network modeling to understand information processing. Other areas of research in the Institute include the study of how visual and tactile information processing leads to perception and understanding of two- and three-dimensional objects. Another focus is on neural processing and recognition of speech and other complex sounds. St...ill other laboratories study neural mechanisms of attention, memory formation, motor learning, decision-making and executive control of behavior. view more
Ion channels are pore-forming membrane proteins gating the flow of ions across the cell membrane. Among their many functions, ion channels regulate cell volume, control epithelial fluid secretion, and generate the electrical impulses in our brain. The Qiu Lab employs a multi-disciplinary approach including high-throughput functional genomics, electrophysiology, biochemistry, and mouse genetics to discover novel ion channels and to elucidate their role in health and disease.
In the Zhou Lab, the overall goal of our research is to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying development of the mammalian nervous system. Specifically, we are interested in understanding how neurons generate their complex morphology and form proper circuitries during development and how neurons regenerate to restore connections after brain or spinal cord injuries.