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3.12.2013

Human Genetics Faculty Awarded $3.1 Million NIH Grant To Study Hearing Loss

Mustafa Tekin, M.D., associate professor in the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics and member of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, has been awarded a $3.1 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to identify genes that cause deafness and are associated with inner ear anomalies.

The grant, “Genetic Studies of Inner Ear Anomalies,” will complement Tekin`s previously funded NIH grant, which aims to find the genetic causes of nonsyndromic deafness. The long-term goal is to improve the clinical and genetic management of individuals with hearing loss by providing molecular diagnostic tests, which will lead to better genetic counseling, treatment, and prevention of disease conditions.

“Despite recent progress in identifying genes that determine many forms of syndromic and non-syndromic sensorineural hearing loss, the genetic pathogenesis of inner ear anomalies has remained largely unknown,” Tekin said. “In this study, we will use our repository of participants with deafness, and whole exome sequencing with bioinformatics analysis to identify new genes for inner ear anomalies.”

Co-investigators on the grant, which began March 1, span two UM campuses and include Susan H. Blanton, Ph.D., Executive Director at the Hussman Institute and associate professor of human genetics; Xue Zhong Liu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of otolaryngology; Katherina Walz, Ph.D., research assistant professor of human genetics; and Julia Dallman, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology.

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