VeDA Announces Research Scholarships

VeDA awarded scholarships to Alexandria Hudson, Itallia Pacentine, Corey Shayman and Eric Thomas to present their original research at the Northwest Auditory Vestibular Meeting.

Recipients were selected by VeDA Medical Advisor, Dr. James Phillips, Research Associate Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) and Director of the Dizziness and Balance Center and the Vestibular Diagnostic Laboratory at UWMC.

Recipient: Alexandria M. Hudson, B.S.

Affiliation: Washington State University Vancouver

Research Abstract: My work entails investigating compounds that confer protection against aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss which affects both cochlear and vestibular hair cells. The goal is to determine what structures from these compounds are responsible for protecting against toxins. This will allow us to identify components that are important for protection and then take the best features of each compound to design a more potent compound that can block toxicity and serve as a therapy that prevents drug-induced hearing loss and vestibulotoxicity.

Recipient: Itallia V. Pacentine, PhD

Affiliation: Oregon Hearing Research Center, Oregon Health and Science University

Research Abstract: My work focuses on the mechano-electrical transduction complex, a set of proteins that provides detection of auditory and vestibular stimuli. By using the larval zebrafish as a model for deafness and vestibular dysfunction, we seek to better understand the inner workings of this protein complex.

Recipient: Corey Shayman, B.S.

Affiliation: Hullar Vestibular Lab, Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University

Research Abstract: Diagnostic and research tools for vestibular disorders have largely focused on spatial parameters of multisensory integration (e.g. characterizing the gain of the vestibulo-ocular reflex). Our team’s recent experiments demonstrate that individuals with reduced vestibular sensitivity have abnormal multisensory temporal perception, underscoring a new multisensory domain with which we can study and diagnose vestibular function.

Recipient: Eric D. Thomas, B.S.

Affiliation: Department of Biological Structure, University of Washington

Research Abstract: I study the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying the regeneration of hair cells in the zebrafish lateral line, which are structurally and functionally analogous to the hair cells of the inner ear. A greater understanding of these mechanisms could ultimately provide targets for study in the mammalian inner ear with the aim of treating auditory and vestibular dysfunction.