Department of Otorhinolaryngology


Hearing Sciences Center

Director: Yale E. Cohen , PhD

The Hearing Sciences Center is a multidisciplinary center developed by the Department of Otorhinolaryngology to integrate the research activities of a number of scientists and laboratories on the Penn Campus working in the area of hearing research. The keystone of the Center is the Auditory Research Laboratory, located in Departmental research space in the John Morgan Building, in the heart of the biomedical and neuroscience research sectors of the School of Medicine. The Hearing Sciences Center is under the direction of Yale E. Cohen, Ph.D.

Research in the Auditory Research Laboratory combines ethological approaches with behavioral and neurophysiological methods to study the neural bases of cognition. By generating models of neural activity, our laboratory takes a systems-level circuit approach to test how behaviorally-relevant information is coded, represented, and transformed along defined neural circuits. The long-term goal of this research is to understand how brain areas interact and how these interactions relate to sensation, perception, and action at the level of brain networks.

Other research opportunities in the Hearing Sciences Center include the Department's Developmental Auditory Biology laboratory. Research is underway to better understand the cellular mechanics underlying the development of hearing in mammals. The development of neural pathways between the ear and brain are being examined. An additional very interesting opportunity exists within the field of molecular biology to study the functioning of sound damaged, and regenerating hair cells. Co-operative research is currently being initiated between the Auditory Research Laboratory and several other laboratories in the Hearing Sciences Center to evaluate the molecular biology of the isolated hair cell in different phases of activity.