OHSU researchers Peter Barr-Gillespie and Kateri Spinelli featured in NIH Director’s Blog

Micrograph of sensory hair and supporting cells in the inner ear of a chicken
Micrograph of sensory hair and supporting cells in the inner ear of a chicken

NIH director, Francis Collins, posted a blog entry this week showcasing the work of Peter Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D., professor of otolaryngology in the OHSU School of Medicine and associate vice president for basic research at OHSU. The post provided a snapshot of Barr-Gillespie’s research and also featured an image of sensory hair cells captured by Barr-Gillespie and Kateri Spinelli, Ph.D., at the time a student in Barr-Gillespie’s lab.

 

Peter Barr-Gillespie
Peter Barr-Gillespie

You may recall the image from a previous post announcing that the two researchers were among the winners of the 2014 BioArt competition.

Kateri Spinelli, Ph.D. is now a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Neurology at OHSU
Kateri Spinelli, Ph.D. is now a post-doctoral fellow in the Jungers Center at OHSU

One focus of  the Barr-Gillespie lab’s research is on sensory hair cell regeneration following damage, whether from noise exposure, injury, or disease. In humans, such damage can result in permanent hearing loss but the lab has found that in chickens, supporting cells have the ability to regenerate sensory cells within a couple of weeks and restore hearing. They are working to better understand these cells in the chicken to examine possible treatment options for hearing loss in humans.