The House Research Institute (HRI) contains a wide range of ear and vestibular research, from research on basic cellular and genetic mechanisms to clinical trials. HRI has pioneered many advances in the basic science of hearing as well as clinical innovation. One secret to HRI's success is that all research and clinical programs have the support of shared core facilities that provide expertise in engineering, imaging, clinical trias management, statistics, and animal management. Unlike a university environment, HRI has all this research breadth within a single building. For example, the same implant interface that allows researchers precision control of electric stimulation can also be used to test new stimulation strategies in a larger clinical population. Drug discovery and development occurs in the same laboratories that then design the clinical trials for those drugs. Technical infrastructur cores provide expertise across research areas and projects, enhancing HRI research capabilities. The vertical integration of research, from basic to applied, also promotes collaboration across this dimension, especially when they use common equipment and software developed by the core infrastructure. The present application requests continued funding for the HRI Core Center for Engineering. The purpose of this P-30 renewal grant is to expand and maintain the House Research Institute (HRI) Core Center's role in supporting a wide range of technical and other critical core services to over 16 independent investigators (9 of which are Qualifying Core Investigators) and their collaborators. The services of the HRI Core Center will continue to maintain state-of-the-art technical competence and expertise at HRI, foster interaction among HRI scientists, and as such, will help set and develop new research directions.
The House Research Institute (HRI) has a long history of innovation in hearing research. HRI developed early cochlear implants and originated the auditory brainstem implant. HRI has made significant advances in hair cell regeneration and in developing treatments for vestibular schwannomas, both surgical and drug development. This range of research from basic to clinical benefits from shared infrastructure, in particular engineering support. Core A Engineering Director: Robert Shannon Ph.D. DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The Engineering Core will continue to provide technical expertise on Signal Processing and Data Collection Platforms as well as Communications Interfaces. Technology in these areas is evolving rapidly and applies across diverse areas of HRI research. Specialized hardware and software in these areas require highly technical expertise that is outside the expertise of most individual investigators. The Engineering Core will keep up with the rapidly changing technology and provide a knowledge base to design and construct specialized hardware and software to facilitate research. Technical equipment for auditory research requires a low noise floor for signal generation and recording, extremely high data rates, and low distortion. Digital signal processing is often required to condition transducer input and process signals by filtering, averaging, or feature extraction in real time. Previously, specialized DSP chips and specially designed outboard processing units were necessary to achieve these goals. Now, however, PCs with USB audio devices are fast enough to perform signal generation, processing, and high speed data acquisition on their own, so dedicated DSP devices are no longer the primary focus of this core. Instead, the primary focus will shift to high speed transmission systems for delivering/acquiring data from test equipment directly to/from a PC or other control platforms. Experimental control and data transfer can now be achieved via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB. Some applications and equipment can be controlled by off-the-shelf Android/Windows devices with special apps programmed for data acquisition. The HRI Engineering Core P30 will keep pace with rapidly changing technology in these areas and assist NIDCD funded research projects to expand and enhance their technical capabilities.
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