Brandon C. Cox, Ph.D.
Brandon Cox <email@example.com>
Research Interest and Specialties
Approximately 36 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, making it one of the most common disabilities in the United States (www.nidcd.nih.gov). Exposure to loud noise or certain types of drugs causes damage to specialized cells in the cochlea of the inner ear (called hair cells), which results in hearing loss. Treatments for hearing loss, such as hearing aids and cochlear implants, provide some benefit but do not restore normal hearing.
In birds, fish, amphibians, and other non-mammals, hair cells can regenerate after damage and restore hearing function. The Cox lab and others have recently discovered that hair cell regeneration also occurs in the ears of newborn mice (Cox et al., 2014). However, when hair cells are killed at one week of age, no evidence of regeneration was detected.
The goals of the Cox lab are to investigate the cell source, mechanism, and genes involved in the hair cell regeneration process that occurs in the newborn mouse ear. We are also interested the developmental changes that take place during the first weeks after birth which prevent regeneration from occurring in juvenile and adult mice. Other projects in the lab are focused on mechanisms that regulate hair cell survival during postnatal maturation, aging, regeneration, and in stressed hair cells after noise exposure. We also collaborate with Dr. Jenny Stone at the University of Washington to study hair cell regeneration in the vestibular system, which regulates the sense of balance.
We use mouse genetics (CreER/loxP and tetracycline inducible systems) to manipulate gene expression in specific cell types and at specific ages, as well as fate-mapping to trace the origin of regenerated hair cells. Immunostaining with confocal microscopy, as well as real time qPCR and other molecular techniques, are routinely used in the Cox lab.
R01 DC014441 -- Mechanisms that regulate hair cell survival NIH/National Institute on Deafness and other Communicative Disorders 6/1/2016 – 5/31/2021
W81XWH-15-1-0475 -- Investigation of Notch signaling in during spontaneous regeneration of cochlear hair cells Neurosensory and Rehabilitation Research Award Program, CDMRP Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Department of Defense 9/15/2015 – 9/14/2018