We are requesting partial support to cover the expenses of the 12th Mechanics of Hearing Workshop to be held in Attica, Greece in 2014. Since their inception in 1983, the Mechanics of Hearing Workshops have provided the primary forum for presenting, debating, and sparking advances in the fields of auditory biomechanics and biophysics. Convened at three-year intervals, Workshops bring together for a week of intense discussion researchers working on the mechanics of hearing at the molecular, cellular and systems levels using biological, mathematical, and engineering techniques. Attendees are from a wide range of U.S. and international institutions, and the Workshop has historically been held in both domestic and international locations. The previous Workshop was held at Williams College in Massachusetts;it attracted 162 participants from 20 countries and five continents. Previous Workshops were held in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and United States. The 2014 Workshop is organized by Harvard Medical School and will be held near Athens, Greece. Greece was chosen as a central location that allows easy travel for the majority of the participants. This, the 12th Workshop, aims to (i) synthesize new results in this rapidly progressing, multi-disciplinary research area;(ii) establish new research goals and collaborative projects;(iii) attract new talent to the field;and (iv) disseminate knowledge to th broader community. For graduate and post-doctoral students, the Workshops offer an invaluable opportunity to discuss their work, develop new ideas, and talk with established investigators. The Workshop will focus on the biomechanics, biophysics, and cellular/molecular physiology of the peripheral auditory system. Contributions related to the mechanics of non-mammalian auditory and vestibular systems, as well as other biological mechano-transducing systems, will also be encouraged. A key addition to the 2014 MoH will be topics in molecular mechanics: the atomic structures and mechanical properties of single proteins in the mechanotransduction and electromotility complexes, how these act in the overall context of the intact cochlea, and how mutations that affect mechanics may cause hearing loss. A goal will be to integrate mechanics from the level of single proteins to cochlear macro-mechanics. In this proposal, we request funds from the NIH to cover student and post doctoral scholarships and travel, and a portion of audio-visual and publication costs.

Public Health Relevance

for Human Health Deafness is the most common sensory impairment, and the most socially isolating;the World Health Organization estimates that 280 million people worldwide have moderate to profound hearing loss. The physiological bases for most forms of deafness are incompletely understood, but it is clear that most etiology is in the peripheral auditory system, where the mechanical properties of hair cells produce high sensitivity and exquisite frequency selectivity. A deeper scientific understanding of peripheral auditory function at both the structural and molecular level therefore remains critical to reducing the devastating impact of hearing loss on both individuals and society.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Conference (R13)
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Communication Disorders Review Committee (CDRC)
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Donahue, Amy
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Harvard University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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