SIU School of Medicine

Jump directly to a section:

Office of Public Affairs

Portrait of Donald Caspary, Ph.D.
Donald Caspary, Ph.D., in his laboratory

September 20, 2010

SIU Med School Receives Grant to Study Hearing Loss

A research scientist at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield has been awarded a five-year federal grant from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) for the study of age-related hearing loss.  Total budget for the grant is $1,416,940.

This study will examine how the brain’s ability to process sound decreases with age.  This may lead to a loss of speech understanding that may be only partially helped by hearing aids.  The project, which uses aged rats, also will investigate the age-related loss of ability to detect new sounds in complex backgrounds.

This research has important implications for the potential development of drugs that can be used to treat age-related hearing loss.  Hearing loss affects 30 percent of Americans over the age of 65 years and about 50 percent of the population over 75 years old. 

Donald M. Caspary, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and SIUC distinguished scholar, is the principal investigator for the project.  His co-investigators are Thomas J. Brozoski, Ph.D., professor of surgery, and Jeremy G. Turner, Ph.D., part-time associate professor in surgery.  Other members of the research team are Lynne L. Ling, laboratory manager; Patricia Jett, researcher; and Benjamin Richardson, graduate student.  Kenneth Hancock, Ph.D., Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Kevin Otto, Ph.D., Purdue University, are consultants to the project.    

Caspary’s research has been funded for more than 30 years by the NIDCD.  His research funding at SIU has totaled more than $7.4 million.

Caspary joined the SIU faculty in 1973.   He earned his doctoral degree in neurobiology at New York University (1971) and completed a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship at the State University of New York (1972).  He earned his master’s at Syracuse University (1968) and his bachelor’s at the University of Wisconsin (1965).

- 30 -