The ability to hear and balance is in the roots. Both depend on hair cells, small sensory cells in the inner ear. Damage of hair cells leads to the loss of these functions. Though lower vertebrates such as birds have the ability to replace these hair cells, mammals like humans do not.
Researchers from the UW’s Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM) — in conjunction with Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center (VMBHRC) — are trying to solve mysteries related to mammals’ inability to regenerate damaged hair cells.
Read the full story at The Daily of the UW.