Our Team

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Jeremy Duncan, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine

GRADUATE STUDENTS

 Paige Blinkiewicz's research investigates the role of transcription factors in the development and function in the hearing organ and the balance system of the inner ear. By finding differentially expressed transcription factors in these regions, we aim to identify gene regulatory networks that contribute to the diverse morphology and function of these sensory organs. This project will lead to improved success in translational studies.  

Elizabeth Ketchum's area of study is in the development and projection of inner ear afferent neurons from the cochlea to the hindbrain. Her research aims to better understand gene networks involved in neuronal development, and to better understand the ability of neurons to pathfind to their target. The goal of this research is to apply the knowledge gained about proper inner ear afferent development and projection to expand treatment options beyond cochlear implants and hearing aids for individuals suffering from hearing loss.

Makayla Long

Sydney Sheltz-Kempf's research will establish a mouse model of hearing loss to mimic the disease state in humans. By characterizing the cells and genes expressed in this type of tissue, the field of hearing loss will better understand the molecular environment of deafness. The end goal of this project is to enhance current treatment options, which are limited to hearing aids and cochlear implants.  Manipulation of transcription factors within specific cell types will open the door to a variety of gene networks required for regeneration of the mechanosensory cells responsible for hearing. 

Zach Stoner's primary area of study is the development and projection of peripheral and central auditory pathway neurons. His research aims to elucidate key genetic and molecular regulatory mechanisms that govern the proper development and guidance of these neuronal populations. The goal of this research is to apply newfound information regarding regulatory networks in the auditory pathway to expand on current treatment strategies for neurosensory hearing loss.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Hiba Ahmed

Olivia Ambursley-Gries

Serena Karlov

Kate Williams

Somi Yoon

FORMER LAB MEMBERS

Olivia Leighton- Undergraduate Student

Annmarie Maher- Undergraduate Student

Meskerem Tolossa- Honors Undergraduate Student

Paulina Villalon- Undergraduate Student

Jeremy Duncan

Department of Biological Science

Western Michigan University

1903 W Michigan Ave

Kalamazoo, MI 49008