Auditory Science Lab

Annual report 2010

The Hospital for Sick Children

Director: Dr. Robert V. Harrison.

A wide range of research techniques are employed in the lab to explore the structure and function of the auditory system. These include auditory evoked potentials; single neuron recordings from auditory midbrain and cortex, and otoacoustic emissions. In our anatomical studies techniques include inner ear histology; immuno-histochemistry; electron microscopy; brain morphometry; and neural tracer studies.

Basic science trainees in the laboratory over the past year include Trecia Brown, who has successfully completed and defended her PhD thesis on the development and programming of the auditory cortex.  Well done Dr. Brown! Also working hard over the past year is Lisa D’Alessandro, who is making good progress on her PhD studies on neural plasticity in the auditory midbrain. Jaina Negandhi is our laboratory research coordinator and technologist, and she is also at work on a master’s thesis through the Department of Physiology, looking at auditory brain activity levels after conductive hearing loss using c-fos labeling methods. Jaina, has been at home on maternity leave for most of the year and we can congratulate her on the arrival of a son, Aarav in October 2009.  

In addition these projects, other studies that have been carried out over the past year include contralateral modulation of oto-acoustic emissions with Adrian James, and ABR studies in various mouse models of disease with Vincent Lin. Also working in the lab over the summer is an enthusiastic health science student Brittany Harrison. In addition to the basic, laboratory based research projects we have active collaboration with the Cochlear Implant Research Lab directed by Blake Papsin and Karen Gordon, and also the Centre for Voice and Laryngeal Function directed by Paolo Campisi.

Our research findings have been published in a range of basic science and clinical journals. In addition, we have presented our recent findings and new data at local seminars and at various national (Ottawa) and international (Germany, India) research meetings. Our research funding comes from CIHR and from the Masonic Foundation of Ontario. Of some significance, this year the Auditory Science Laboratory, along with four other research teams were successful in obtaining a CIHR Team Grant to study The Development and Aging of Binaural Hearing. This was a special initiative from five members of our department, specifically Drs. Karen Gordon, Adrian James, Vincent Lin and Lendra Friesen, as well as one member of the Department of Physiology, Dr. Lu-Yang Wang. The team is working out of both SickKids and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

The Auditory Science Laboratory has had a productive year, thanks to the hard work by all members.

Bob Harrison 2010