NOHR Foundation
Funding Biomedical Research into the
Preventions, Treatments, Causes and Cures
of Hearing Loss & Deafness


Since its inception, the NOHR Foundation has provided over $9.8 million for 510 separate research grants. In 2012, we are funding 10 "Seed Money" projects. Ultimately, discoveries about auditory function will lead to strategies to treat, prevent or cure hearing loss, deafness and related disorders.


The Seed Money Program is the NOHR Foundation's primary focus, making funds available for scientists to pursue new ideas and directions in their research.

Seed Money grants awarded by the NOHR Foundation for 2012 are supporting projects by the following principal investigators:

  • Justin Aronoff, Ph.D., is an Advanced Research Associate in the Communication and Neuroscience Division of House Research Institute in Los Angeles
  • Martin L. Basch, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Neuroscience at the Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX)
    Dr. Basch is studying the embryonic development of a cochlear structure called the stria vascularis. This tissue generates special fluid that is rich in potassium and is essential for normal hearing. Strial defects are implicated in presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) and many human syndromes involving profound hearing loss. The goal is to identify genes that could be manipulated to repair or restore damage to or degeneration of the stria vascularis resulting from heredity or aging.
  • Christopher Clinard, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at James Madison University
  • Soroush Sadeghi Ghandehari, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Maria Eugenia Gomez-Casati, Ph.D., is an Assistant Researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones en Ingenieria Genetica y Biologia Molecular in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Michelle Hastings, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the Chicago (IL) Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University
  • Ambrose Kidd, Ph.D., is a Research Scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, MO
  • Rutherford M. Ongkeko, M.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Project Scientist at the University of California, San Diego
  • Bradley J. Walters, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Development Neurobiology at St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Yasheng Yuan, M.D., Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Otolaryngology, Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School

The NOHR Foundation provided one investigation 200,000 for two years (2008-2009) for an inner ear hair cell regeneration program; provided a total of 2.5 million to two investigations for five years (2001-2005) for hair cell regeneration programs; and provided one program a total of $300,000 for a three-year (2001-2003) inner ear hair cell regeneration project


TWO-YEAR PROGRAM (2008-2009)

Tatjana Piotrowski, Ph.D. & Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado, Ph.D., University of Utah School of Medicine

In a bioinformatics and genetic investigation in zebrafish,

  • a mutant in which hair cells form normally but fail to properly regenerate once damaged (as occurs in mammals) has been identified
  • genes in a cell communication pathway (Wnt) that respond to the injury and death of hair cells have been discovered and cloned


Neil Segil, Ph.D. and Andrew Groves, Ph.D. House Ear Institute, Los Angeles

Studying embryonic and postnatal mice, they have discovered:

  • auditory supporting cells from newborns can spontaneously change into hair cells under culture conditions
  • a gene called p27Kip1 blocks this process in the inner ear
  • in mutant mice lacking p27Kip1, cells were able to divide and make hair cells

Michael Lovett, Ph.D. and Mark Warchol, Ph.D. ,Washington University, St. Louis

In microarray studies of cochlear and vestibular avian ear genes,

  • specific genes that are switched on and off during the process of inner ear hair cell regeneration after damage have been discovered
  • new genomic techniques to shut down/off genes and investigate subsequent changes in other genes and in the regeneration process were developed
  • genetic components of regeneration in balance structures have been revealed


Douglas A. Cotanche, Ph.D. Children's Hospital, Boston

  • developed embryonic mammalian cochlear cultures to serve as neural stem cell transplant recipients
  • discovered neural stem cells transplanted into cochlear cultures do differentiate into cochlear cells
Learn More
Since 1988, the National Organization for Hearing Research Foundation has donated $10 million for 520 projects.

Mission Statement
Special Programs
Preventing Hearing Loss
Research & Grants

The National Organization For
Hearing Research Foundation

P.O. Box 421
Narberth, PA 19072
Phone: 610.649.6114

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Any information provided within this Web site is of a general nature and is not specific to any individual. It should not be considered medical advice. Individuals are encouraged to consult an otolaryngologist or other physician for advice related to hearing and hearing disorders.