Biology of the Inner Ear Course

Course Date: Not offered in 2021

The Biology of the Inner Ear course (BIE) teaches advanced research approaches to the development, function, and pathology of the inner ear and downstream auditory and vestibular pathways in the central nervous system.  BIE began in 2007 and is held every 2 years.

Applicants – are welcomed at the graduate, postdoctoral or resident level or beyond, and with backgrounds in biological, chemical, physical, computational, or medical sciences. BIE is open to US-based or international applicants and seeks a diverse group of students. Tuition, room and board are provided through generous support from the National Institutes of Health.  Some funds are available to defray travel costs.

Course content – BIE provides extraordinary opportunities for student-faculty interactions.  In 3 weeks, more than 40 expert faculty introduce the class of 15-20 students to:

challenges driving different sub-fields – e.g., What genes control development of the beautifully ordered inner ear?  What molecules mediate transduction of sound, head motion or water displacement into electro-chemical signals?  How do we perceive sound pitch and localize sounds?  How does attention influence hearing?  What does information theory reveal about how the vestibular system helps us move through the environment?  How do we fix or replace broken inner ears?

technical approaches – genetic, molecular, anatomical, neurophysiological, behavioral and psychophysical

model systems – such as the fruit fly auditory system, zebrafish lateral line, and rodent hearing and vestibular pathways from inner ear to cortex

Course organization – a comprehensive system of lectures, tutorials, research seminars, demonstrations, laboratory exercises conducted side-by-side with faculty, independent laboratory time, and informal discussions.  Protocols and notes are shared electronically.  Sundays are free time.  At course’s end, participants have the opportunity to share highlights from individual or team experiences as informal presentations.

Questions? Contact course directors Ruth Anne Eatock, Andy Groves or Philip Joris.