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Enabling tools for imaging cell dynamics and interactions in tissue morphogenesis, growth, and remodeling

Brian Applegate, PhD

Many of the diagnoses for hearing loss and vertigo or disequilibrium are based on patient history, rather than physical evidence of a particular pathology. Since many diseases have overlapping symptoms, the diagnosis can be a process of elimination. Traditional medical imaging technologies only image the surface or have limited ability to measure the function and small structures of the middle and inner ear. There is an unmet clinical need for imaging tools that can measure the ear microstructure and function and provide physical evidence for diagnosis and guidance of therapy in the otology clinic. Over the past eight years we have been developing Optical Coherence Tomography and Vibrometry to measure the detailed morphology and vibratory response in animal models of the inner ear. With micron scale spatial resolution and subnanometer sensitivity to vibration it is well suited to measuring the spatially resolved vibratory response of the ear. Recently we have started developing related tools for diagnosis and management of human disease. We are building a family of minimally invasive technologies that can access the human middle and inner ear for diagnosis and guidance of therapy.

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