Mariam Youssef

Major: Biology
Purdue School of Science
Supervisor: Dr. Bo Zhao
Department: IU Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery/ Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute

The Drug, Cisplatin, and its Effect on Hearing

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most prevalent type of hearing loss. This is caused by damage to the inner ear and nerves to the brain. The leading cause of sensorineural hearing loss is simply aging, which affects the cilia in the ear overtime. This in turn causes permanent damage and hearing cannot be restored. There's no cure, however there are treatments and assistive devices. The cochlear hair cells are role players in hearing; converting auditory stimuli into electrical signals to the brain to process. Sensorineural hearing loss can also be caused by genetic predisposition, environmental factors, or by the use of certain medical drugs. Evaluating interactions between proteins from collected cochlear hair cell tissue, looking into the functions of current known hearing loss-genes, as well as assessing drug effects on hearing loss, will help determine some common causes and help fabricate therapeutic treatments. In our recent studies, we've discovered that the ototoxicity of the drug, Cisplatin. This is a chemotherapeutic drug that is used around the world. Cisplatin is a drug used for a variety of cancers, more prominently testicular and ovarian cancer. Its recurrent use has been linked to hearing loss in patients. By genetically disrupting mechanotransduction in mice, the uptake of the drug and its ototoxicity have been reduced.