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A Drosophila model for understanding the basis of Meniere’s disease

Objective

Too little is known about the complex hearing impairments and vestibular syndromes that develop in adults during their life course; new insights and novel scientific models are required. My project focuses on Meniere’s Disease (MD), a multifactorial impairment of the inner ear characterized by varying grades of (i) adult onset sensorineural hearing loss, (ii) episodic vertigo and (iii) tinnitus. During my PhD, I devised new approaches to decipher the genetic factors contributing to MD by combining whole exome sequencing and bioinformatic analysis. I identified candidate genes for MD and validated the expression of the associated proteins in two functional domains of the human and rodent inner ear: the sensory epithelial sheets of the vestibular system and the auditory Organ of Corti. To understand the functional importance of MD candidate genes, and their interplay with environmental factors, requires an experimentally tractable in vivo model. I here propose to use the hearing and balance system of Drosophila melanogaster as an in vivo model of MD. This will involve devising and employing novel experimental tools, such as novel tests of hearing and vestibular function, genome-wide transcription studies (RNA-Seq) and bioinformatics analysis. The project will provide a better understanding of the heterogeneous landscape of adult-onset inner ear pathologies, which will inform new therapeutic and diagnostic strategies.
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Coordinator

THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH

Address

Old College, South Bridge
Eh8 9yl Edinburgh

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 183 454,80

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 794651

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    7 January 2019

  • End date

    6 January 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 183 454,80

  • EU contribution

    € 183 454,80

Coordinated by:

THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH

United Kingdom