OHSU

OHRC Researchers

Our researchers

Our researchers are producing world-class and internationally recognized research on hearing, hearing impairment, tinnitus and other hearing disorders.

Below, you can read brief biographies on each of our researchers. For more information, please contact us at ohrc@ohsu.edu.

Alfred L. Nuttall, Ph.D. - Director

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Alfred L. Nuttall, Ph.D. is the director of the Oregon Hearing Research Center at OHSU, where he is a Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/ Head and Neck Surgery, the Vice Chairman for Research and the first Jack Vernon Endowed Professor in Hearing Research. Dr. Nuttall joined OHSU in 1996. Additionally, he is a Professor Emeritus of Otolaryngology at the University of Michigan.


Previous appointments:

  • Professor, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Michigan

Degrees:

  • B.S. degree in electrical engineering, Lowell Technological Institute (now the University of Massachusetts at Lowell)
  • M.S. degrees in bioengineering and electrical engineering, University of Michigan
  • Ph.D. degree in bioengineering, University of Michigan
  • Postdoctoral work at the Kresge Hearing Research Institute, University of Michigan

Research Interest:

  • Hearing function and hearing loss
  • Cochlear physiology, with particular interest in:
    • How does load sound cause hearing loss?
    • How do the sensory cells of the organ of Corti amplify and 
        discriminate complex sounds?

Major Milestones and Significant Discoveries

  • Proof that spontaneous otoacoustic emissions come from vibration of the basilar membrane
  • The cochlea produces nitric oxide (NO) in abundance
  • The organ of Corti produces power in response to sound
  • A technology to measure human cochlear blood flow

Additional information is available on his lab page. To access his publications, please click here to go to PubMed.


Peter G. Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D. - Professor

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Peter G. Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D., is a Professor with the Oregon Hearing Research Center and an Affiliated Scientist with the Vollum Institute. He has been with OHSU since 1999.

Overview

Current appointments:

  • Associate Vice President for Basic Research
  • Professor in the departments of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, Cell Biology & Development and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Senior Scientist, Vollum Institute
Previous appointments:
  • Assistant Professor and Associate Professor of Physiology, Johns Hopkins University

 Degrees:

  • B.S. degree in chemistry, Reed College
  • Ph.D. degree in pharmacology, University of Washington
  • Postdoctoral work at UCSF, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Research Interests

  • Hair-cell transduction
  • Hair-bundle development

Major Milestones and Significant Discoveries

  • Development of methods for isolation of hair bundles and analysis of constituent proteins and lipids via mass spectrometry 
  • Determination of roles for myosin Ic, myosin VI, and myosin VIIA in adaptation and bundle structure
  • Characterization of the structure, identity, and regeneration of the tip link
  • Description of homeostatic mechanisms used by hair bundle to handle Ca2+ (Ca2+ pump, ATP delivery, H+ transporter)
  • Elucidation of protein expression and localization steps required for assembly of the hair bundle

Click here to go to his Vollum Lab page or click here to find his publications on PubMed.


John V. Brigande, Ph.D. - Associate Professor

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John V. Brigande, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor with the Oregon Hearing Research Center. 

Overview

Current appointments:

  • Associate Professor of Otolaryngology / Head and Neck Surgery
  • Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology



 Degrees:

  • B.S. degree in biological sciences, Boston College
  • M.S. degree in biological sciences, Boston College
  • Ph.D. degree in biological sciences, Boston College
  • Postdoctoral work with Karen Artzt at the University of Texas at Austin and with Donna M. Fekete, Purdue University

Research Interests

  • Fate of otic epithelial progenitors in the mouse otic vesicle
  • Lineage relationships of sensory and nonsensory cells in the mouse inner ear
  • Molecular regulation of sensory organ formation

Major Milestones and Significant Discoveries

  • Misexpression of the transcription factor atonal homolog 1 in the developing mouse inner ear generates functional auditory hair cells
  • The in utero gene transfer technique premits gain and loss-of-function experiments in the developing mouse inner ear

 To access Dr. Brigande's  publications,  click here to go to PubMed.


Stephen V. David, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor

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Stephen V. David, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor with the Oregon Hearing Research Center. He joined the faculty in 2012.

Overview

Current Appointments:

  • Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery

Degrees:

  • A.B. degree in Applied Mathematics, Harvard University
  • Ph.D. degree in bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley
  • Postdoctoral work at the University of Maryland, College Park

Research Interests

  • Representation of speech and other natural sounds in auditory cortex
  • Learning and attention-driven changes in auditory representations
  • Biological mechanisms underlying neural computations

Major Milestones and Significant Discoveries

  • Determined that the representation of speech in auditory cortex cannot be predicted by responses to noise and tone stimuli traditionally used to characterize auditory representations
  • Found that the reward structure of a task controls the sign of attention-driven plasticity in primary auditory cortex.

Additional information can be found on his lab page. To access Dr. David's publications click here to go to PubMed


Zhi-Gen Jiang, M.D. - Professor Emeritus

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Zhi-Gen Jiang, M.D., is a Professor Emeritus with the Oregon Hearing Research Center. He has been with OHSU since 1988.

Overview

Current appointments:

  • Professor with the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, OHSU
  • Visiting Professor with Tongji Medical School, Huazhong Science and Technology University, China
Previous appointments:
  • Associate Scientist, Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (CROET)
  • Professor in the Department of Physiology at Wannan Medical College, China

 Degrees:

  • M.S. degree in physiology from Fudan University, Shanghai Medical College, China
  • M.D. degree from Soochow University Medical College, China
  • Postdoctoral work at the Department of Physiology, University of Saskatchewan Medical College, Canada
  • Postdoctoral work at the Department of Pharmacology, Loyola University Medical School, USA

Research Interests

  • Cellular physiology and pathophysiology of cochlear vasculatures, homeostasis function
  • Identification of aminoglycoside-permissive channels
  • Channels, neurotransmitters, receptors in the nervous system and the related drugs

Major Milestones and Significant Discoveries

  • Cochlear arterial cells are unique to ensure inner-ear health
  • A newly identified side effect of dihydropyridines
  • A state-of-the-art method introduced for identification of aminoglycoside-permeable channels and drug cochlear trafficking
To access Dr. Jiang's publications,  click here to go to PubMed.

Teresa Nicolson, Ph.D. - Professor

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Teresa Nicolson, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor with the Oregon Hearing Research Center. She is also an Adjunct Faculty member with the Vollum Institute and with the Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology. She joined OHSU in 2003. 

Overview

Current appointments:

  • Associate Professor with the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery
  • Adjunct Faculty with the Vollum Institute
  • Adjunct Faculty with the Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology
Previous appointments:
  • Group Leader with the Max-Planck-Institute, Tuebingen, Germany

 Degrees:

  • B.S. degree in biochemistry from Western Washington University
  • Ph.D. degree in biological chemistry from University of California, Los Angeles
  • Postdoctoral work at the Max-Planck-Institute, Tuebingen, Germany

Research Interests

  • Molecular basis of mechanotransduction in auditory/vestibular hair cells
  • Hair-cell ribbon synapse formation and function

Major Milestones and Significant Discoveries

  • First laboratory to establish animal models of human deafness in zebrafish
  • Discovery that Cadherin 23 comprises the tip link or filament, which mechanically gates electrical signals in auditory/vestibular hair cells
  • Identified the glutamate transporter (Vglut3) in hair cells that loads synaptic vesicles with neurotransmitter, enabling hair cells to communicate with the brain
  • Discovery that the tip link protein protocadherin 15 interacts with the transmembrane, channel like proteins TMC1 and TMC2

In addition to her OHRC appointment, Dr. Nicolson also has an appointment with the Vollum Institute.

To access her publications,  click here to go to PubMed.


Lina A. J. Reiss, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor

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Lina A. J. Reiss, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor with the Oregon Hearing Research Center. She joined the faculty in 2010.

 

Overview

Current appointments:

  • Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery
  • Joint appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Joint appointment in the National Center for Rehabilitation and Auditory Research at the Portland Veterans Administration Medical Center
Degrees:
  • B.S.E. degree in mechanical engineering from Princeton University
  • Ph.D. degree in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Iowa

Research Interests

  • Cochlear implants, particularly:
    • How can we enhance the benefits of combined acoustic plus electric stimulation?
    • How can we improve hearing preservation with cochlear implants?
  • Plasticity and learning with auditory prostheses:
    • How is the brain changed by long-term experience with cochlear implants or hearing aids?
    • What do these changes mean for speech perception with these devices?

Major Milestones and Significant Discoveries

  • Neurons in the premotor cortex encode sound-source location (both angle and distance) independent of the loudness of the sound source (Nature 1998)
  • The function of nonlinear neurons in the dorsal cochlear nucleus is to encode spectral edges as cues for sound localization (J Neurosci 2005)
  • Pitch perception with a cochlear implant can change with long-term experience (JARO 2007, Neuroscience 2014)
  • Abnormal binaural spectral integration with cochlear implant and hearing aid experience (JARO 2014)

Tianying Ren, M.D. - Professor

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Tianying Ren, M.D., is a  Professor with the Oregon Hearing Research Center.

Overview

Current appointments:

  • Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery
Previous appointments:
  • Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery
  • Research Investigator at the Kresge Hearing Research Institute, the University of Michigan
  • Instructor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the First Teaching Hospital of Xi'an Medical University

 Degrees:

  • M.D. and M.S. degrees from Xi'an Jiaotong University School of Medicine (formerly known as Xi'an Medical University), Shaanxi, China
  • World Health Organization Fellow and postdoctoral training at the Kresge Hearing Research Institute at the University of Michigan

Research Interests

  • Mechanisms responsible for the cochlear sensitivity, sharp tuning and nonlinearity
  • Wave propagation in the living cochlea:
    • How does sound exit the cochlea?
    • What is the spatial presentation of sounds in the living cochlea?

Major Milestones and Significant Discoveries

  • Demonstration of the longitudinal pattern of the basilar membrane vibration in living sensitive cochlea
  • Cochlea-generated sounds exit the cochlea mainly through the cochlear fluid
  • Development of a scanning laser interferometer for measuring sub-nanometer vibration in living cochlea
  To access Dr. Ren's  publications,  click here to go to PubMed.

Xiaorui Shi, M.D., Ph.D. - Associate Professor

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Xiaorui Shi, M.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor with the Oregon Hearing Research Center. Dr. Shi joined OHSU in 2005.

Overview

Current appointments:

  • Associate Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery
  • Vice Director of the Institute of Microcirculation, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
  • Adjunct Professor of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
  • Adjunct Professor, Shanghai Hearing Research Center, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China

Previous appointments:

  • Associate Professor with the Department of Otolaryngology, the General Hospital of the CPAPA, Beijing, China

 Degrees:

  •  M.D. degree from Shanghai Second Medical University, Shanghai, China:
  • Auditory physiology
  • Cochlear microcirculation physiology and pathology
  • Ph.D. degree from Henan Medical University, Beijing, China

Research Interests

  • Mechanisms of vascular remodeling
  • Mechanisms of blood flow autoregulation
  • Cellular mechanisms responsible for the myogenic properties of pericytes
  • Molecular mechanisms responsible for noise-induced hearing loss
  • Cell adhesion and inflammation in the vascular wall

Major Milestones and Significant Discoveries

  • The fibrocyte-pericyte coupling is in control of the regional cochlear blood flow
  • Perivascular resident macrophages were found in the cochlear blood-labyrinth barrier and their renewal via migration of bone-marrow-derived cells
  • Pericyte plasticity in response to loud-sound microvessel damage
  • Bone-marrow cell recruitment in the acoustically damaged cochlear blood-labyrinth barrier
  • Using mass spectroscopy, detected a large number of proteins to be transporters in purified mouse strial capillaries, suggesting the blood-labyrinth barrier is highly energy-dependent and provides needed support for the transport system

To access Dr. Shi's  publications,  click here to go to PubMed.


Peter Steyger, Ph.D. -  Professor

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Peter Steyger, Ph.D., is a Professor with the Oregon Hearing Research Center.

Overview

Current appointments:

  • Associate Professor with the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery

 Degrees:

  • Ph.D. degree in cochlear anatomy and ototoxicity from Keele University, United Kingdom
  • Postdoctoral work with Dr. Michael Wiederhold (development of otoconia in the vestibular system) and Dr. Richard Baird (vestibular hair-cell functional anatomy and regeneration)

Research Interests

  • Auditory neuroscience
  • Ototoxicity

Major Milestones and Significant Discoveries

  • Active trafficking of aminoglycosides across the blood-labyrinth barrier
  • Modulation of aminoglycoside uptake by inflammation and infection
  • Fluorescent tagging of clinically relevant ototoxic anti-cancer drugs
  To access Dr. Steyger's publications,  click here to go to PubMed.

Dennis R. Trune, Ph.D., M.B.A., - Professor

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Dennis R. Trune, Ph.D., M.B.A., is a Professor in the Oregon Hearing Research Center. He joined OHSU in 1983.

Overview

Current appointments:

  • Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery
  • Adjunct Researcher with the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland VAMC


Previous appointments:

  • Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery

 Degrees:

  • B.A. degree in biology from the University of Michigan-Flint
  • M.S. degree in biology from Northern Arizona University
  • M.B.A. degree from Portland State University
  • Ph.D. degree in anatomy from Louisiana State University Medical School; conducted dissertation research at the Kresge Hearing Research Laboratory
  • Postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. David Lim in the Otolaryngology Department at Ohio State University

Research Interests

  • Immune-mediated inner-ear disease and hearing loss
  • Intratympanic delivery of steroids for improved recovery of hearing loss
  • Development of novel treatments for hearing loss
  • Ion and water transport dysfunction in different forms of hearing loss
  • Control of inflammatory processes of the middle ear
  • Impact on middle-ear inflammation on the inner ear

Major Milestones and Significant Discoveries

  • New treatment for sudden and immune-mediated hearing loss
  • Demonstration that inflammatory processes occur in the inner ear with middle-ear infections
  • Identification of fluid-clearing mechanisms in the middle-ear compromised during infections, leading to the painful effusions found in otitis media
  • Identification of potential gene defects that cause middle-ear infections
  To access Dr. Trune's publications,  click here to go to PubMed.

Laurence O. Trussell, Ph.D. - Professor

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Laurence "Larry" O. Trussell, Ph.D., is a Professor with the Oregon Hearing Research Center and a Scientist with the Vollum Institute.

Overview

Current appointments:

  • Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery
  • Scientist with the Vollum Institute

Previous appointments:

  • Associate Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery

 Degrees:

  • B.A. degree in biology from University of California-San Diego
  • Ph.D. degree in biology from University of California-San Diego
  • Postdoctoral work at UCLA  and Washington University

Research Interests

  • Brainstem circuits that process acoustic signals
  • Synaptic physiology - how do cells and synapses preserve information provided by the ear?

Major Milestones and Significant Discoveries

  • Neurons that encode timing of acoustic signals are molecularly and biophysically specialized for that function
  • Cellular/synaptic learning mechanisms occur even at the earliest levels of sensory processing
  • Corelease of multiple transmitters from neurons act together on the same receptor
  • Ca2+ channels are expressed in axons and control the triggering of complex spike activity.
In addition to his appointment with the Oregon Hearing Research Center, Dr. Trussell is a Scientist with the Vollum Institute. To access his publications,  click here to go to PubMed.