The focus of the Center for the Molecular Biology of Neurosensory Systems is on disorders that affect hearing, vision and learning. Our research programs investigate the developmental factors that cause deafness, blindness or intellectual disability. Understanding these processes is the first step in the discovery of effective therapies. For example, scientists in the center are studying the development and function of the cochlea (the organ of hearing) to see if disorders that kill sensory cells in the cochlea can be reversed; others are working on auditory and retinal functions in a condition called Usher Syndrome which damages both hearing and vision; and others are studying genetic disruptions of brain development and function which cause autism or intellectual disabilities.
As a Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) funded by the National Institutes of Health, we also are charged with building a strong research environment. Three independent research institutions in Omaha are working together to develop a collaborative group of researchers who can exchange ideas and technologies. The University of Nebraska Medical Center, Boys Town National Research Hospital and Creighton University provide scientific core facilities equipped with the latest technologies for research laboratories, and senior scientists from all three institutions participate in a mentoring program for young researchers, giving them advice to help them build successful careers.
Our Center is starting the third of three phases, each phase consisting of a five-year period of funding from the National Institutes of Health.