The Hearing and Vision theme comprises of vision and auditory scientists working to improve the lives of individuals with neurodegenerative visual, hearing and balance disorders.
The Vision scientists study the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in optic nerve diseases, particularly glaucoma, and we are developing new treatments to protect and regenerate the optic nerve using gene therapy, stem cells and other approaches. Major work focuses on development of effective gene therapy for glaucoma progressing towards blindness despite maximum conventional treatment and has been recognised with further funding following the team’s runners up position in the UK Government’s BioStart Synthetic Biology Competition. Working with patients with genetic eye diseases is enabling disease gene discovery, deep phenotyping and biomarker profiling leading to personalised therapies.
The Hearing Scientists are made up of two lab groups, the Cambridge Ear Institute and the SOUND lab who work closely together to maximise benefit to patients.
The Cambridge Ear Institute integrates translational research into very large clinical flow in the Otology, Neurology, Skull Base and Auditory Implants programme at Addenbrooke’s hospital. We focus on objective measures of pathophysiological mechanisms underlying patient symptoms and disease manifestations, and have a very strong collaboration with the Department of Engineering. Current projects include developing novel sensors to measure electrical stimulation spread in cochlear implant models and patients, novel psychoacoustic and electrophysiology tests to determine auditory lesion site, development of wearable technologies to interrogate relevant physiology and its dysfunction in the patient’s environment, and new multimodal sensory tools for balance rehabilitation.
The SOUND lab explores approaches to optimise sensory perception, for audition and for audio-visual integration with a strong emphasis on outcomes and benefit. The research group uses the understanding of neuroplastic mechanisms to optimise outcomes with hearing devices.