The loss of neurosensory function, particularly the sensations of hearing and vision has devastating affects on communication, education, occupation, and quality of life. Since neurosensory cells of the inner ear and retina are not replaced after damage or degeneration, such losses are permanent. The purpose of the Nebraska Center for the Molecular Biology of Neurosensory Systems is to characterize the genetic mechanisms controlling the development and maintenance of neurosensory functions and the corresponding pathology associated with relevant gene mutations to identify potential avenues for intervention. We will focus our efforts on promising regenerative medicine strategies such as the reconstitution of damaged cells through the use of pluripotent stem cells or de-differentiation and regeneration of post-mitotic cells in the inner ear and retina. These studies utilize specialized animal models that allow control of gene expression at specific critical points in development, with detailed evaluation of the associated findings at the molecular and phenotypic levels. To facilitate these studies, 3 independent research institutions have joined to build an interactive Center with a multidisciplinary approach designed to address to these well-defined objectives. With a core of 3 senior researchers and an exemplary External Advisory Committee, we have successfully mentored 14 junior faculty members and created a collaborative group united by similar thematic and mechanistic approaches. Our research has been facilitated by 3 scientific cores: a Mouse Genome Engineering core for the development of mouse models, a Microarray core for comprehensive assessment of gene expression levels and determination of possible genetic networks, and a Molecular Phenotyping/Histology core to study the results of experimental alterations. These cores are an important addition to the research infrastructure of all 3 institutions. In the second phase of this COBRE project, we will continue to support 6 junior researchers: 2 are studying the mechanisms of specific syndromes of blindness and deaf/blindness, 1 is concentrating on the development and enrichment of retinal stem cell populations, and 3 are studying the molecular pathways of inner ear differentiation with the goal of facilitating sensory regeneration. As those projects obtain external funding and rotate off Center funding, new projects will be added. The addition of new investigators, along with continued support of research activities and the operation of core facilities, will ensure a growing """"""""critical mass"""""""" of collaboration that will sustain the Center, and enable participants to obtain external funding which will ensure its long term viability

Public Health Relevance

The loss of sensory abilities such as hearing and vision causes devastating affects on communication, education, occupation, and quality of life. Once mature sensory cells of the eye or ear are lost, they are not replaced, so that these losses have been permanent. By studying the genetic controls of development of the sensory cells in the retina and inner ear, the scientists in this Center will determine optimal approaches for therapies utilizing precursor cells that can develop into replacement cells and restore function.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRR1-RI-B (01))
Program Officer
Caldwell, Sheila
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Physical Medicine & Rehab
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Ka, Minhan; Moffat, Jeffrey J; Kim, Woo-Yang (2016) MACF1 Controls Migration and Positioning of Cortical GABAergic Interneurons in Mice. Cereb Cortex :
Amaradasa, Bimal S; Amundsen, Keenan (2016) Transcriptome Profiling of Buffalograss Challenged with the Leaf Spot Pathogen Curvularia inaequalis. Front Plant Sci 7:715
Schilit, Samantha L P; Ohtsuka, Masato; Quadros, Rolen M et al. (2016) Pronuclear Injection-Based Targeted Transgenesis. Curr Protoc Hum Genet 91:15.10.1-15.10.28
Gurumurthy, Channabasavaiah B; Grati, M'hamed; Ohtsuka, Masato et al. (2016) CRISPR: a versatile tool for both forward and reverse genetics research. Hum Genet 135:971-6
Quadros, Rolen M; Poluektova, Larisa Y; Gurumurthy, Channabasavaiah B (2016) Simple and reliable genotyping protocol for mouse Prkdc(SCID) mutation. J Immunol Methods 431:60-2
Ka, Minhan; Kim, Woo-Yang (2016) Microtubule-Actin Crosslinking Factor 1 Is Required for Dendritic Arborization and Axon Outgrowth in the Developing Brain. Mol Neurobiol 53:6018-6032
Jung, Eui-Man; Ka, Minhan; Kim, Woo-Yang (2016) Loss of GSK-3 Causes Abnormal Astrogenesis and Behavior in Mice. Mol Neurobiol 53:3954-66
Sato, Masahiro; Ohtsuka, Masato; Watanabe, Satoshi et al. (2016) Nucleic acids delivery methods for genome editing in zygotes and embryos: the old, the new, and the old-new. Biol Direct 11:16
Küçük, Can; Hu, Xiaozhou; Gong, Qiang et al. (2016) Diagnostic and Biological Significance of KIR Expression Profile Determined by RNA-Seq in Natural Killer/T-Cell Lymphoma. Am J Pathol 186:1435-41
Ka, Minhan; Chopra, Divyan A; Dravid, Shashank M et al. (2016) Essential Roles for ARID1B in Dendritic Arborization and Spine Morphology of Developing Pyramidal Neurons. J Neurosci 36:2723-42

Showing the most recent 10 out of 47 publications