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Hearing and sensory systems

Deafness is the most common sensory deficit in the population, affecting one in six of the UK population, with 71% of the over 70s having significant hearing loss. Karen Steel (Fellow of the Royal Society), leads our research into the genetics of deafness to identify the genes involved and to understand the different molecular mechanisms involved.

Our focus is on age-related hearing loss, and we aim to find new drug targets to slow down or stop its progression, to improve the quality of life for our ageing population. Our other areas of research into sensory systems include mechanisms involved in gut sensing and the role of the thalamus in sensory processing.

Our key questions:

  • What genetic variants are most commonly associated with hearing loss?
  • Can we develop diagnostic tools and new drugs to treat hearing loss?
  • Can the progression of hearing loss be halted or reversed?

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