Professor Martin Schwander's research is in the field of auditory perception and hearing loss. Deafness is the most common form of sensory impairment in humans and is frequently progressive in nature, but little is known about the molecular pathogenesis of the disease. A recent ENU mutagenesis screen has revealed that mutations in members of the gasdermin gene family cause progressive hearing loss in mice and humans. Professor Schwander’s research will extend various studies to further define the in vivo function of gasdermins in the development and physiology of the inner ear. In addition, the laboratory will examine whether different gasdermin proteins act in a similar molecular pathway that is important in both auditory hair cells and neurons using novel proteomics approaches. Understanding the molecular function of gasdermins will ultimately aid the design of new therapeutics that target these signaling pathways and that will be effective in preventing or treating hearing loss.