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Marisa L . Zallocchi, PhD

Assistant Professor


School of Medicine
Biomedical Sciences
Translational Hearing
CRISS I - Criss 1 - 430

Marisa L . Zallocchi, PhD

Assistant Professor

Marisa Zallocchi is an Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Sciences Department. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, she moved to Iowa City to work as a postdoctoral fellow. She subsequently moved to Boys Town National Research Hospital (Omaha, NE) where she was initially a Research Assistant and then became Staff Scientist.
Marisa's main research focus is to understand the relationship between specific transmembrane receptors, integrins, and the Usher proteins during inner ear development, and their mechanism of action.

Research Focus

  • Molecular basis of Usher syndrome during inner ear development.
  • Role of integrins during inner ear development and their involvement in Usher protein function
  • Identifiation of small molecule therapies to protect against acquired hearing loss


Biomedical Sciences


Assistant Professor


  • Hearing Research
    Zhang, Tianyang, Xu, Zhenhang; Zheng, Danya; Wang, Xuechun; He, Jinghun; Zhang, Luping; Zallocchi, Marisa Pediatric auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder is a particular type of hearing loss caused by abnormal sound transmission from the cochlea to the brain. It is due to defective peripheral synaptic function or improper neuronal conduction. Using trio whole-exome sequencing, we have identified novel biallelic variants in the PLEC gene in three individuals with profound deafness from two unrelated families. Among them, one pediatric patient diagnosed with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder had a good cochlear implantation outcome. The other two adult patients were diagnosed with non-syndromic hearing loss. Studies in mice and zebrafish confirmed that plectin is developmentally expressed in the inner ear. Moreover, plectin's knockdown resulted in a reduction of synaptic mitochondrial potential and loss of ribbon synapses, reinforcing the idea of a role for plectin in neuronal transmission. Altogether, the results presented here, point to a new unconventional role for plectin in the inner ear. Contrary to the well-characterized association of plectin to skin and muscle diseases, we found that specific plectin mutations can result in hearing loss with no other clinical manifestations. This is important because 1) it provides evidence of plectin's involvement in inner ear function and 2) it will help clinicians at the time of diagnosis and treatment
    436 2023
  • European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
    Santanu Hati*, Marisa Zallocchi*, Robert Hazlitt, Yuju Li, Sarath Vijayakumar, Jaeki Min, Zoran Rankovic, Sándor Lovas, Jian Zuo. AZD5438-PROTAC: A Selective CDK2 Degrader that Protects Against Cisplatin- and Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. In press in European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry (2021). *equal contribution
    226 2021
  • JCI: Insight
    Marisa Zallocchi , Zallocchi M, Hati S, Xu Z, Hausman W, Liu H, He DZ, Zuo J. Characterization of quinoxaline derivatives for protection against iatrogenically induced hearing loss. JCI Insight. 2021 Mar 8;6(5):141561. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.141561. 2021
  • JCI: Insight
    Marisa Zallocchi , Zallocchi M, Hati S, Xu Z, Hausman W, Liu H, He DZ, Zuo J. Characterization of quinoxaline derivatives for protection against iatrogenic-induced hearing loss. JCI: Insight, in press. 2021
  • Science Advances
    “BRAF inhibition protects against hearing loss in mice” 2020. Ingersoll M, Malloy E, Caster L, Holland E, Xu Z, Zallocchi M, Currier D, Liu H, He D, Min J, Chen T, Zuo J, Teitz T. Sci. Adv. 6(49):eabd0561. 2020
  • Science Advances
    Matthew A. Ingersoll, Emma A. Malloy, Lauryn E. Caster, Eva M. Holland, Zhenhang Xu, Marisa Zallocchi, Duane Currier, Jaeki Min, Taosheng Chen, Jian Zuo, and Tal Teitz. . Anti-Cancer BRAF Inhibitors Protect Against Cisplatin- and Noise-induced Hearing Loss. Sci Adv. (2020) 6(49):eabd0561. 2020
  • Sci Rep
    Rocha-Sanchez S, Fuson O, Tarang S, Goodman L, Pyakurel U, Liu H, He DZ, and Marisa Zallocchi. Quinoxaline protects zebrafish lateral line hair cells from cisplatin and aminoglycosides damage. Sci. Rep. (2018) 8(1):15119.
    8 2018
  • J. Cell Sci.
    Goodman L and Zallocchi M Integrin 8 and Pcdh15 act as a complex to regulate cilia biogenesis in sensory cell. J. Cell Sci (2017) 130(21):3698-3712. 2017
  • Hearing Research
    Meehan DT, Delimont D, Dufek B, Zallocchi M, Phillips G, Gratton MA, Cosgrove D. Endothelin-1 mediated induction of extracellular matrix genes in strial marginal cells underlies strial pathology in Alport mice. Hear Res. (2016) 341:100-108.
    341, p. 100-108 2016
  • J. Cell Biology
    Ogun O and Zallocchi M. Clarin-1 acts as a modulator of mechanotransduction activity and presynaptic ribbon assembly. J. Cell Biol. (2014) 207, 375-391. 2014
  • PLoS One
    Delimont D, Dufek B, Meehan D, Zallocchi M, Gratton M, Phillips G and Cosgrove D. Laminin α2-mediated focal adhesion kinase activation triggers Alport glomerular pathogenesis. PLoS One (2014) e99083.
    9 2014
  • Marisa Zallocchi*, Pezhman Salehi*, Sarath Vijayakumar, Madeleine Urbanek, Kimberlee P. Giffen, Yuju Li, Santanu Hati, Jian Zuo In silico transcriptomics identifies FDA-approved drugs and biological pathways for protection against cisplatin-induced hearing loss. Under review, eLife. *equal contribution -0001


  • The goal of this proposal is to characterize natural products to protect hair cells from aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss.


  • To characterize the regulation of Itga8-Pcdh15 complex during inner ear development

  • Study the role of integrin alpha-8 and protocadherin-15 complex during vestibular hair cell maturation.