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2014-presentAssistant Professor, Stanford University, School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USAOtolaryngology department 2010-2014Senior Research Associate, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USADepartment of Cell Biology and Dorris Neuroscience CenterAdvisor: Ulrich Müller2005-2010Research Associate, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USADepartment of Cell Biology and Dorris Neuroscience CenterAdvisor: Ulrich Müller1999-2004Ph.D. Student, The Institute for Developmental Biology of Marseilles, Francethen moved to the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, FranceCNRS/ENS “Development and Evolution of the Nervous System”Advisor: Jean-François Brunet1998-1999Graduate Student, The Institute for Developmental Biology of Marseilles, FranceINSERM “Development and Pathology of Spinal Motoneuron”Advisors: Christopher E Henderson, Keith Dudley
Genetics of Hearing and Vestibular Impairment<br/><br/>The inner ear contains the sensory cells that detect sound and head motion, the hair cells. In mammals, these cells are generated during the mid-gestation and will never be replaced during the entire life. The hair cells are in constant activity and their dysfunction is a major cause of deafness and peripheral vestibular disorders: they are both the core and the Achilles’ heel of the system.<br/>Hearing loss can result from exposure to excessive noise, chemicals and certain medications. However, susceptibility to deafness is generally dictated by genetic transmission. To this date, 136 human loci have been linked to hearing loss, but we know the corresponding affected genes for only 85 of them. These genes are very often required, directly or indirectly, for the proper hair cell function.<br/><br/>We want to identify the comprehensive list of genes required for hearing and head motion detection, and ultimately characterize the function of these genes at the molecular level.<br/><br/><br/>Function of Hair Cells and other Inner Ear Cells<br/><br/>Differently from the sense of Vision, still little is known about Hearing and Balancing at their molecular level. This is due to the technical challenges associated with this organ: the paucity of the inner ear sensory cells, their inaccessibility and their fragility.<br/>The inner ear is composed of two functional parts: the cochlea, which is the auditory organ, and the vestibule, organs responsible for head motion and balancing. In both parts, the sensory epithelia are composed by the sensory hair cells, always surrounded by supporting cells. <br/>We want to characterize down to the molecular level the function of the cells that compose the inner ear, particularly the hair cells.<br/><br/>The hair cells have different functions: 1) to detect the mechanical stimuli induced by sound, and 2), to transmit this information to the central nervous system through their synapses.