The medical college and research institute received the grant, to be used over five years, from the National Institute of Health’s National institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Dr. Joseph Kerschner, professor of otolaryngology and communication sciences, dean of the medical school and executive vice president of the medical college, otolaryngologist at Children’s Hospital, and researcher at the research institute, will serve as principal investigator for the grant. Kerschner will work with the Center for Genomic Sciences in Pittsburgh in his research initiatives along with colleagues from the medical college and Children’s Hospital.
The research team will specifically study mucins, fluids that develop behind the eardrums in some children after ear infections. The team will look at how mucins, which can cause hearing loss, collect in children who suffer from chronic ear infections.
According to the medical college, infections of the middle ear affect more than 90 percent of all children by age 5 in the U.S. and are the most common cause of hearing loss in young patients.