Department / University Information

Biography

Dr. Douglas Vetter's early graduate work (Univ. Connecticut) centered on gaining a better understanding of the neural connections between the brain and the sensory cells of the inner ear responsible for encoding auditory stimuli. During his postdoctoral tenure (The Salk Institute for Biological Studies), his work broadened to further resolve the neurochemical nature of the cells that communicated with the hair cells and the receptors that were involved in this signaling. Dr. Vetter's current work is designed to understand the molecular (genomic and proteomic) nature of the neural response to auditory stimuli and how stress and stress-related signaling affects sensory processes. This was stimulated by observations from his lab that the inner ear expresses numerous molecules involved in classic HPA signaling. His work has recently shown that the inner ear is competent to release corticosterone and aldosterone independent of the HPA axis, and has led him to begin considering the involvement of this local HPA-equivalent system in hearing loss, and more broadly to consider the endocrine-like nature of signaling in the cochlea. His research as a heavy emphasis on the use of mutant mouse lines, quantification of gene (qPCR) and protein expression (LC-MSMS) level changes and changes in phosphorylation states along select second messenger cascades that occur with various intensities of acoustic exposures.

Research Interest

Dr. Douglas Vetter's interests lie in understanding the maturation and regulation of synaptic structure and strength within the inner ear, the development and maintenance of acoustic sensitivity and related susceptibility to noise-induced hearing loss, and the effects of stress and steroid hormone signaling on these proecesses. Dr. Vetter's lab investigates gene expression and cell signaling cascades involved in both descending neural input directed to hair cells, as well as a local peptide based paracrine signaling system within the cochlea that replicates the well known hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis.

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