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Debara Lyn Tucci, MD

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences
Office: 1559 Hosp South, Blue Zone, Durham, NC 27710
Campus Mail: DUMC Box 3805 Med Ctr, Durham, NC 27710

The focus of current research efforts is in defining the effects of conductive hearing impairment on the development and function of the central auditory system. The ultimate goal of this research is to understand the impact of hearing loss, such as that associated with otitis media, on the development of auditory function in children. Experiments are currently being performed in which central auditory system activity is studied using the 2-deoxyglucose method following unilateral neonatal conductive hearing loss. Future experiments will examine changes in cell structure and interneuronal connections following acute and chronic conductive hearing loss in both neonatal and adult animals.

A second research program is focused on issues related to the cochlear implant. The cochlear implant is a device which allows for electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve in profoundly deaf patients. It has previously been demonstrated in animal studies as well as in human tissue histopathology that degeneration of central auditory pathways occurs following severe damage to the inner ear. It has been suggested that the introduction of electrical stimulation via a cochlear implant may prevent or reverse some of these degenerative changes. Experiments conducted previously examined this issue in the neonatally and adult deafened rat. Tissue analysis is currently undergoing completion.

Education and Training

  • M.D., University of Virginia, 1985


Tucci, Debara, Michael H. Merson, and Blake S. Wilson. “A summary of the literature on global hearing impairment: current status and priorities for action.” Otol Neurotol 31, no. 1 (January 2010): 31–41.

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Tebbit, C. L., T. Pilkington, S. Ciecko, D. Kaylie, and D. Tucci. “Management of temporal bone osteoradionecrosis: Surgical and adjunctive therapies.” In Laryngoscope, Vol. 119, 2009.

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Bledsoe, Sanford C., Seth Koehler, Debara L. Tucci, Jianxun Zhou, Colleen Le Prell, and Susan E. Shore. “Ventral cochlear nucleus responses to contralateral sound are mediated by commissural and olivocochlear pathways.” J Neurophysiol 102, no. 2 (August 2009): 886–900.

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Chino, Junzo P., John H. Sampson, Debara L. Tucci, David M. Brizel, and John P. Kirkpatrick. “Paraganglioma of the head and neck: long-term local control with radiotherapy.” Am J Clin Oncol 32, no. 3 (June 2009): 304–7.

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Niparko, J. K., K. I. Kirk, N. K. Mellon, A. M. Robbins, D. L. Tucci, and B. S. Wilson, eds. Cochlear Implants Principles & Practices. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009.


Hutson, K. A., D. Durham, and D. L. Tucci. “Reversible conductive hearing loss: restored activity in the central auditory system.” Audiol Neurootol 14, no. 2 (2009): 69–77.

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Hutson, K. A., D. Durham, and D. L. Tucci. “Consequences of unilateral hearing loss: time dependent regulation of protein synthesis in auditory brainstem nuclei.” Hear Res 233, no. 1–2 (November 2007): 124–34.

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Gates, George A., Aimee Verrall, J Douglas Green, Debara L. Tucci, and Steven A. Telian. “Meniett clinical trial: long-term follow-up.” Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 132, no. 12 (December 2006): 1311–16.

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