2010 Annual PhD Studentship Awards
Joanna Ziff is based at the UCL Ear Institute, investigating the genetic causes of otosclerosis, a form of deafness that is common in young adults. She will compare the stapes bones of individuals with otosclerosis and healthy individuals to see if there are any genetic differences and compare the DNA of affected and healthy people to see if there are any tiny changes to the genetic code that are more common in people with otosclerosis. This will give scientists a good indication of which genes play a role in the development of this type of deafness. Supervising her is Dr Sally Dawson, one of the researcher’s in the Deafness Research UK Auditory Centre of Excellence at UCL Ear Institute.
Joanna Says, “I am looking forward to starting this exciting new research project and hope that by working with both genetic researchers and clinicians, it will pave the way for the development of new treatment options for people affected by otosclerosis.”
Monica Tambalo, who has previously studied at The University of Padua in Italy and The University of Diderot in Paris, will be studying development of the ear at King’s College London under Dr Andrea Streit. She aims to identify new genes involved in how developing cells decide to become one of the ear’s specialised cells. Since the underlying causes of 25% of cases of childhood deafness are unknown, her work will help to identify new genes that may be involved. This may lead to improved diagnosis and understanding of the problems that can cause childhood deafness.