Impact of a NOHR Grant on a career in auditory science

Dear Gerry,

Thanks for paying a visit to the Center for Hearing and Balance at Johns Hopkins recently. I very much enjoyed our conversation.

I’d mentioned that I’d received support from the National Organization for Hearing Research/ Geraldine Dietz Fox Foundation at a critical juncture in my career, and wanted to flesh out the details of that story…

I joined the Physiology faculty at theUniversityOfColorado School Of Medicinein 1985 after completing postdoctoral training with Robert Fettiplace at the Physiological Laboratory of theUniversityofCambridgeinEngland. My doctoral and postdoctoral training equipped me to pursue my interest in cellular excitability and synaptic physiology (in nerve and muscle), and with Robert I learned how the inner ear (in that case in turtles!) could be an excellent model system for such pursuits. So, my new laboratory set up to use the inner ear of the chicken to investigate hair cell physiology and synaptic signaling during development, and potentially in the context of regeneration.

By 1990 we’d made good progress and published our work on ion channels that contribute to electrical tuning of hair cells in the chicken, as Fettiplace and colleagues had shown earlier in the turtle. We further showed how these properties arose during development. Meanwhile, we found that we could study the process of efferent inhibition of chicken hair cells (this occurs in all vertebrate ears, including human). In 1992 we received a grant from the National Organization for Hearing Research, the Geraldine Dietz Fox Foundation to build on that initial discovery, and with subsequent NIH funding have continued to explore this, and other, topics since.

Your foundation’s grant arrived as I was approaching a crossroads in my career. To that point I’d maintained an identity as a neurophysiologist who used the inner ear as a model system, but didn’t consider myself a ‘hearing scientist’ per se. Two years later I was negotiating to join the Center for Hearing and Balance here atHopkins, having decided that indeed I would devote my work entirely to the inner ear, and to do so in the hearing and balance scientific community. Of course there were many factors that influenced that decision, but your foundation’s support was a meaningful one that highlighted the humanitarian benefit of this career path, no small consideration.

I joined the Otolaryngology-HNS faculty in 1995. Lloyd Minor made me research director and John E. Bordley Professor in 2004. In 2012 our new director, David Eisele asked me to serve as Vice-chair for Research. So, I have been extraordinarily blessed along the way, with generous and supportive colleagues, strong federal funding, and outstanding students. The move toHopkinssealed my commitment to the field of hearing research. Among the triggers for that move was the vote of confidence your foundation provided in 1992. I’m very pleased I had the opportunity to tell you in person, and only sorry that it’s taken so long to become better acquainted.

-Paul Fuchs, Ph.D.

John E. Bordley Professor and Vice Chair-Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery; Professor of Biomedical Engineering; & Co-director-the Center for Sensory Biology and Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

This entry was posted in Researcher Input. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>