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Personal profile

Research Interests

The long-term goal of my lab is to identify and investigate molecules that play important roles in mammalian hearing, thus to enrich our understanding of cochlear physiology, and to further develop a better strategy to prevent hearing loss. Outer hair cells (OHCs) are essential for providing high sensitivity and frequency selectivity of hearing. They are also the most vulnerable cells in the inner ear and are involved in most sensorineural hearing loss that affects the hearing of millions of people. It is known that OHC death is strongly connected with the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Yet, it is not fully understood why OHCs, as compared to other cells in the organ of Corti, are more vulnerable to ROS. The main function of OHCs is to amplify mechanical signals through their somatic electromotility. This exclusive property is executed by a unique motor protein called prestin (Zheng et al., Nature, 2000). We are currently investigating prestin’s protective role against oxidative stress in the ear using different prestin-expressing cell lines and prestin-knockout/prestin-knockin animal models. We are focused on understanding the molecular mechanism of motor protein prestin using various cellular, biochemical and molecular biological methods including high throughput small molecule compound library screening procedures. These studies will not only expand knowledge of prestin as the OHC-based cochlear amplifier at the molecular level, but also produce a deeper understanding of mechanisms associated with outer hair cells loss, and may offer new methods for the prevention of OHC damage.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Michigan State University

… → 1992


  • Aging
  • Biochemistry: Proteins
  • Cell Biology
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Developmental Neurobiology
  • Genetics
  • Hearing
  • Neuroscience

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  • 3 Similar Profiles
Outer Auditory Hair Cells Medicine & Life Sciences
Cochlea Medicine & Life Sciences
Proteins Medicine & Life Sciences
Cell Membrane Medicine & Life Sciences
Genes Medicine & Life Sciences
Inner Auditory Hair Cells Medicine & Life Sciences
Knockout Mice Medicine & Life Sciences
Stereocilia Medicine & Life Sciences

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Grants 2001 2019

Hearing Loss
Usher Syndromes
Outer Auditory Hair Cells
Cell Death
Hearing Loss
Outer Auditory Hair Cells
Auditory Pathways
Cochlear Nerve
Organ of Corti
Tectorial Membrane

Research Output 1996 2019

  • 2354 Citations
  • 42 Article
  • 5 Review article
  • 2 Conference contribution

Deletion of exons 17 and 18 in prestin’s STAS domain results in loss of function

Takahashi, S., Yamashita, T., Homma, K., Zhou, Y., Zuo, J., Zheng, J. & Cheatham, M. A., Dec 1 2019, In : Scientific Reports. 9, 1, 6874.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Outer Auditory Hair Cells
Messenger RNA
1 Citation (Scopus)

Prestin contributes to membrane compartmentalization and is required for normal innervation of outer hair cells

Takahashi, S., Sun, W., Zhou, Y., Homma, K., Kachar, B., Cheatham, M. A. & Zheng, J., Jul 20 2018, In : Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. 12, 211.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Outer Auditory Hair Cells
Knockout Mice
1 Citation (Scopus)

The extracellular loop of pendrin and prestin modulates their voltage-sensing property

Kuwabara, M. F., Wasano, K., Takahashi, S., Bodner, J., Komori, T., Uemura, S., Zheng, J., Shima, T. & Homma, K., Jan 1 2018, In : Journal of Biological Chemistry. 293, 26, p. 9970-9980 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Electric Capacitance
Electric potential
Ion Transport

The susceptibility of cochlear outer hair cells to cyclodextrin is not related to their electromotile activity

Zhou, Y., Takahashi, S., Homma, K., Duan, C., Zheng, J., Cheatham, M. A. & Zheng, J., Sep 24 2018, In : Acta Neuropathologica Communications. 6, 1, 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Outer Auditory Hair Cells
Cell Death
Knockout Mice
2 Citations (Scopus)

A comparison of classical histology to anatomy revealed by hard X-rays

Richter, C-P., Tan, X., Young, H., Stock, S. R., Robinson, A., Byskosh, O., Zheng, J., Soriano, C., Xiao, X. & Whitlon, D. S., Jan 1 2016, Developments in X-Ray Tomography X. Wang, G., Stock, S. R. & Muller, B. (eds.). SPIE, 99671I. (Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering; vol. 9967).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Hard X-ray
Computed Tomography