The contribution of inflammation to outcomes in hearing loss.
Age related hearing loss affects a significant number of older people. Despite this and in common with other conditions with a neurodegenerative component, we lack disease-modifying drugs to treat the condition. With collaborators in ISVR (Carl Verschuur, Ben Lineton) and chemistry (Sumeet Mahajan) we are exploring the contribution of the innate immune system to the rate of progression of hearing loss. A better understanding of the relationship between inflammatory biomarkers and hearing function may enable us to stratify individuals such that we are able to determine those individuals most at risk of deterioration. Our current work includes investigating hearing and inflammation in a longitudinal human study of older community dwelling individuals.
A percentage of people experiencing hearing loss due to changes within their cochleae are recipients of cochlear implants. These devices are designed to transduce sounds from the outside world to the auditory pathways within the cochlea and brain. A small number of these individuals with partial hearing loss, may receive a slightly different, electroacoustic, implant. These implants replace the missing function in part of the cochlea that has lost the ability to respond to sound and allow the residual hearing to remain functional. In both implant groups a subset of patients do not do as well as anticipated, we have a multi-centre study underway to explore the contribution of inflammation to this variation in outcome.
Biocompatible nanoparticles for enhanced drug delivery
The growing burden of neurological disease is driving a need to develop new routes for selective drug delivery to the central nervous system. We have developed targeted engineered nanoparticles for drug delivery. We use organic nanoparticles capable of delivering several different cargo types (hydrophilic, hydrophobic, and protein). These are being tested in vitro, and in vivo.
Through a combination of approaches we are investigating the interaction of the nanoparticles with neurons, and stem cells (Nicholas Evans, Richard Oreffo, FoM), including the uptake mechanisms and the factors that influence this. We are working to identify neuron-specific ligands to use as targeting moieties. We have developed fluorescence-based approaches to resolve the delivery kinetics, including the temporal profile, of compounds. Our current focus is the kinetics of take up and cargo release from nanoparticles after internalization.
Nanotoxicology – airborne exhaust particulates
As nanoparticle usage becomes more mainstream, in both medicine and consumer products, there is a need to investigate the possible detrimental impact of nanoparticles on the health and integrity of the CNS. Anthropogenic airborne nanoparticles may also be a challenge to the nervous system. Together with colleagues in the Centre for Biological Sciences (Guy Poppy, Chris Jackson) and Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, University of Reading (Robbie Girling) we are investigating the impact of airborne nanoparticulate pollutants on learning and memory in the honey bee, an insect of significant ecological and economic importance.
Translating super-oscillatory imaging from materials science into label free imaging in neuroboiology.
The majority of neuronal function is underpinned by the dynamic organisation and turnover of structures at the nanoscale. The limitations imposed by the diffraction of light have meant that many of these processes remain unresolved by conventional light microscopy. Working with colleagues in optoelectronics (Ed Rodgers) FoM, IfLS and CfBS (Shmma Quraishe, Peter Smith and John Chad), we are translating the capabilities of a new super-resolution microscope that is not dependent upon fluorescence to achieve sub-diffraction imaging in biology. Our approach builds on existing confocal microscopy familiar to biologists but replaces a conventional microscope objective lens with a 'super-oscillatory’ (SO) lens, which sculpts the input light to form a strongly confined spot, enabling resolution beyond the diffraction limit of light.
Clinical and Experimental Sciences Academic Units
Affiliate academic unit(s)
Clinical Neuroscience Research group
Promoting tissue regeneration by carrying drugs and molecules directly to stem cells.
Dr Tracey Newman
Faculty of Medicine University of Southampton Building 85 Life Sciences Building Highfield Campus Southampton SO171BJ +44 2380 597642
Telephone:(023) 8059 7642