Julia King, MD/PhD Student in the Froemke and Svirsky labs, receives F30 award from the NIDCD

Wed, 03/16/2016 - 4:00am

Neuroplasticity and Cochlear Implant Use in Rodents

Julia King is a fourth year student in the NYU Medical Scientist Training Program, currently in her second year of graduate school. Julia attended college at the University of Virginia, majoring in Neuroscience and Biochemistry. Her doctoral work in the Froemke and Svirsky labs seeks to elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying adaption to cochlear implants.  After finishing the MD-PhD program, Julia plans to complete a residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery so that she can give cochlear implants to patients (in addition to her rodent research subjects).

Cochlear implants restore meaningful hearing to profoundly deaf patients; however, how well patients do initially is highly variable, as is the time it takes patients to reach their best speech perception. Little is known about how the brain adapts to the implant signal and what happens when it does so poorly or is unable to do so. The focus of Julia's work is to elucidate the underlying neural mechanisms that contribute to the variability in both initial and time-to-peak performance in a rat model of cochlear implant use that was developed in the Froemke and Svirsky labs. The results will provide a foundation that will allow future patients to receive personalized post-operative regimens to capitalize on these neuroplasticity mechanisms in order to accelerate their perceptual gains and improve their device use.