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Beisel Receives Major NIH Grant for Hearing Research

Beisel Receives Major NIH Grant for Hearing Research

Creighton University will receive nearly $5.6 million over the next five years as part of a National Institutes of Health grant through the National Center for Research Resources.

Kirk Beisel, Ph.D., Creighton University School of Medicine’s Department of Biomedical Sciences; Shelley Smith, Ph.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute; and Edward Walsh, Ph.D., Boys Town National Research Hospital; are co-primary investigators of the grant, which has a total value of about $10.4 million.

The grant’s major research focus is on the molecular biology of the neurosensory systems of hearing and sight with an emphasis on regenerative medicine.

“The NIH award recognizes the significant contributions that Dr. Beisel and his colleagues have been and are making to the field of hearing loss,” said Thomas Murray, Ph.D., associate dean for research at Creighton’s School of Medicine. “Hearing impairments affect about 250 million people worldwide and one in three Americans. As our population continues to age, the problem will only grow as will the need for research-based solutions.”

The NIH grant will allow Beisel to continue the Creighton team’s groundbreaking work to treat neurosensory hearing loss – the type of hearing loss typically associated with aging – by studying the development and regeneration of hair cells in the inner ear that perceive sound.

The grant, known as a CoBRE (Center of Biomedical Research Excellence), is part of a program which supports junior faculty in establishing long-term careers in biomedical research by providing mentoring, research funding and infrastructure.

Other Creighton faculty members who will direct projects within the grant include:

  • Michael Weston, Ph.D., School of Dentistry, Department of Oral Biology
  • Sonia Rocha-Sanchez, Ph.D., School of Dentistry, Department of Oral Biology
  • David Nichols, Ph.D., School of Medicine, Department of Biomedical Sciences

Their mentors include:

  • David He, Ph.D., School of Medicine, Department of Biomedical Sciences
  • Venkatesh Govindarajan, Ph.D., School of Medicine, Department of Surgery