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MD-PhD Student, Camila Villasante, Awarded NIH F30 Grant

Fifth year Tri-Institutional MD-PhD student Camila Villasante has been awarded an F30 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

This award will support Ms. Villasante's research in the Hudspeth Lab at The Rockefeller University where she is currently earning her PhD. In particular, this will support her project "Protocadherin 15 as a critical component of the gating spring of human hearing."

Camila describes her work and its context as: "Hearing loss is the most common sensory pathology in the United States, with one in five adults experiencing unilateral or bilateral hearing loss. In the inner ear, hearing is mediated at the level of the hair cells: when a sound deflects the hair bundle, ion channels atop the stereocilia open, allowing for the mechanotransduction of sound. Connecting adjacent stereocilia is the filamentous tip link complex, which comprises a dimer of protocadherin 15 (PCDH15) and a dimer of cadherin 23. My studies aim to elucidate the role of PCDH15 in both normal and pathological hearing using the single molecule technique of optical tweezers, which allows insight into molecular mechanics otherwise unseen."

Camila Villasante