Neil Segil uses stem cells to seek treatments for hearing loss
USC Stem Cell researcher Neil Segil seeks ways to treat hearing loss and balance disorders through the regeneration of inner ear cells.
His lab explores why lost sensory cells don’t naturally regenerate in humans, even though they do in non-mammals such as birds and lizards. To better understand these delicate cells, the lab studies how they develop and shape the complex structures of the inner ear, and can later be damaged by environmental factors, including loud noises, antibiotics andchemotherapy drugs.
Segil is also collaborating with USC Stem Cell researchers Justin Ichida and Takahiro Ohyama to reprogram skin cells into inner ear cells. They will then put these reprogrammed cells into a robotic screening machine, which will allow the scientists to test thousands of drugs at a time. The goal is to find drugs that protect against or reverse hearing damage, and that stimulate regeneration.