The organs of the inner ear are responsible for our ability to hear and balance. The sensory cells within these organs that underlie auditory and vestibular functions are the hair cells. Hair cells convert sound into electrical signals and initiate the auditory response by releasing neurotransmitters onto the auditory spiral ganglia neurons. The resulting neural signals propagate throughout the auditory circuit and is integrated and processed for sound perception. Hearing loss is a commonsensory disorder resulting from loss of hair cells and auditory neurons. To regenerate these cells, we must first identify genes involved in making these cell types. Almost all deafness genes have been painstakingly and individually identified. Developing a high-throughput and methodical way to identify genes that promotes hair cell and auditory neuron development will accelerate efforts for regeneration. I am developing stem/progenitor cells both for auditory disease modeling and screening.I am interested in the stem cell properties of self-renewal and pluripotency. Similar to many other organs and tissues, there are no stem cells in the inner ear. My teaching interests revolve around induction of self-renewal to repopulate lost auditory cells before differentiating them into the hair cells and auditory neurons of the inner ear.