Biology and biophysics of the ear The Asadnia Research Group is committed to understanding the fundamental operation of the inner ear, including the underlying biology of the auditory and vestibular system, as well as its fundamental physiology, in terms of transduction, and neural codes. This priority area includes omics research, such as proteomics and transcriptomics, and in vivo electrophysiology experiments, and laser doppler vibrometry recordings in guinea pig and rat models, to directly measure system mechanics, mechanosensitive receptor hair cell function, and neural activity. Using a systems physiology and engineering approach, this work allows controlled and longitudinal experimental perturbations mimicking pathological states.
Preclinical and translational research
Hearing and balance disorders afflict approximately 30% of the population over the age of 40, representing a significant socio-economic burden for Australia, which is predicted to worsen with the ageing population. Many causes of inner ear dysfunction remain unknown in terms of pathophysiology and effects on sensory receptors and afferent neurons, as well as distinct biomarkers resulting in disease. This stream of the Hearing and Balance Research theme combines 1) preclinical animal model research, involving omics and electrophysiology, spanning manipulations and models of inner ear health and disease; 2) postmortem/cadaveric studies of middle and inner ear function, such understanding differences in ossicular transduction before and after diseased states; and 3) numerical simulations of hearing and balance, such as with Finite Element Analysis.
Innovative technologies for the future
Leveraging world-leading expertise in biosensor research and sensory systems, the Asadnia Research Group strives to engineer novel technologies to interface with the ear for discovery science and translational outcomes in hearing and balance. Current multidisciplinary projects include the fabrication and characterization of biomimetic artificial hair cell sensors and artificial basilar membranes to recreate the sensitivity, place code and tonotopy of the mammalian inner ear, as well as the development of novel biosensors to detect putative biomarkers of pathology. These technologies have the capacity to complement our understanding of inner ear function and dysfunction, as well as the potential to serve as sensory system to integrate the brain with the auditory and vestibular scene.
Meniere’s disease (MD)
This is a debilitating inner ear condition characterized by crippling vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus, and aural fullness. It afflicts over 50,000 Australians, and results in a reduced quality of life, where sufferer’s experience chronic morbidity resulting in disability, reduced work capacity, social isolation, and depression. Despite the fact MD was diagnosed over a 150 years ago by surgeon scientist Prosper Meniere, the cause of the disease is still unknown. This seriously limits the capacity of researchers to develop effective treatments and cures, needed to improve the lives of sufferers. In order to solve this enigmatic disease, a multi-disciplinary approach is needed spanning clinical medicine and practice, basic research and animal models, drug discovery and development, and engineering. Here we focus to drive the next prolific phase of research into Meniere’s disease.
Below are the activities that we aim to do in Meniere’s disease: -Nanotechnology in Meniere's Disease -Link between Endolymphatic hydrops and inner ear dysfunction -Understanding the cause of the Acute Attack -Etiology, diagnosis and treatment of Ménière's disease -Pathophysiology -Animal models -Bioengineering & novel therapies Treatments