University of Cambridge > > Adrian Seminars in Neuroscience > "Sound encoding in the cochlea: from molecular physiology to optogenetic restoration"

"Sound encoding in the cochlea: from molecular physiology to optogenetic restoration"

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We aim to elucidate the neural mechanisms that enable information processing in the cochlea and early auditory pathway at rates of hundreds per second over hours with submillisecond temporal precision. When hair cells transduce the mechanical stimulus into an electrical signal, voltage-gated Ca2+ channels open and the ensuing Ca2+ influx triggers exocytosis of glutamate filled vesicles at their ribbon synapses. We have elucidated an unconventional molecular composition that likely evolved to meet the high functional demands and explains the existence of genetic defects of the hair cell synapse (auditory synaptopathy) in humans. Moreover, we have obtained evidence for major presynaptic heterogeneity even within a given hair cell and hypothesize that this enables the inner hair cell to decompose auditory information into functionally distinct neuronal channels to the brain. In an effort to improve hearing restoration by cochlear implants work on establishing optogenetic stimulation for spatially more confined stimulation of the spiral ganglion.

This talk is part of the Adrian Seminars in Neuroscience series.

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