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Details for Dr Helen Kennedy

Personal details
Name Dr Helen Kennedy
Job title Senior Lecturer in Physiology
Department School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience University of Bristol
Contact details This expert can be contacted via the University of Bristol Public Relations Office.

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work+44 (0)117 331 8092
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Qualifications BSc, PhD(Bristol)
Professional details
Keywords auditory hair cells
hair
cells
hearing
deafness
intracellular calcium
mammalian hair cells
hair cells
Areas of expertise Auditory hair cells are responsible for our ability to hear, and irreversible damage of these delicate sensory cells is the most common cause of deafness in the UK. My research focuses on the role of intracellular calcium in signal transduction in mammalian hair cells. Increases in intracellular calcium are involved in several important processes in mammalian hair cells and my lab focuses on its role in adaptation of the mechanotransducer current and in triggering of transmitter release.

The hair cell bundle is exquisitely sensitive to mechanical motion, with deflections of less than the diameter of an atom being sufficient to open transducer channels in vivo. We have used a fast piezo electric device to stimulate outer hair cell bundles and have studied the transducer current and itís calcium dependent adaptation during development and after the onset of hearing.