Jianxin Bao
Principal Investigator
Professor in Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences
Contact Information

Phone: 314-620-5737; 919-681-5860

Email: jianxin.bao@duke.edu

Currently, no medications are available to treat hearing loss or tinnitus. Dr. Bao’s group focuses on understanding both cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying these two most common hearing diseases.

One major cellular mechanism, synaptopathy in the cochlea or brain, underlies both hearing disorders. Cochlear synaptopathy refers to synaptic dysfunction between cochlear sensory cells and auditory nerve fibers which impacts the transmit sound signals to the brain.

Dr. Bao’s group develops new functional and molecular technological platforms to study cochlear synaptopathy in both preclinical and clinical models. Tinnitus is closely associated with hearing loss, and manifests as a perceived ringing, roaring, clicking, or buzzing in the ears in the absence of an external source of sound.

Similarly, synaptic dysfunction in the brain contributes to tinnitus. Dr. Bao’s group has established a new method to detect tinnitus in preclinical models, and now focuses on determining detailed connections between tinnitus and synaptic plasticity in the brain.

By developing biomarkers and identifying cellular and molecular targets for synaptopathy in the cochlea and brain, Dr. Bao and his team are developing targeted gene or cell therapies for the treatment of both hearing disorders.