The Vestibular Neurogenetics Laboratory, under the direction of Dr. Yesha Lundberg, conducts research to uncover genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms of the vestibular/balance system. Our current focus is the mechanisms of otoconia formation. We also study inner ear sensory processing and preservation, particularly in the context of imbalance and hearing loss due to genetic mutations, aging and degeneration. The third topic of our research concerns the relationship of normal and pathological calcification in the inner ear and bone. Through collaborative efforts, we use human genetic and genomic approaches to identify causes and risk factors for osteoporosis and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV or BPV). The findings will be used to improve diagnosis and treatment of the diseases.
Over 8 million adults in the United States suffer chronic dizziness/vertigo of vestibular origin. Such illnesses are very disruptive to daily living, and worsen with age, exposure to ototoxic drugs, infection, inflammation, certain disorders of the nervous system, and certain genetic mutations. Vestibular problems are reported in 9% of those at age 65 or older. The most common balance disorder is BPPV, which is believed to be caused by dislocation of otoconia.
Osteoporosis is a major public health issue. According to reports by the World Health Organization (WHO), one out of two postmenopausal women and one out of four men of the same age group have osteoporosis or osteopenia.
Our studies are aimed to understand the molecular causes of these diseases, and to develop better diagnostic and treatment methods for prevention and early intervention.
The Vestibular Neurogenetics Laboratory is directed by Dr. Yesha Lundberg.
Yinfang Xu, Ph.D., Postdoctoral FellowLili Wang, Ph.D., Research Assistant