USF Department of Otolaryngology
Head and Neck Surgery

Bernd Sokolowski, Ph.D.

Dr. Sokolowski received his PhD, as a cell biologist, from the Georgetown University School of Medicine, specializing in the development of sensory cells of the inner ear. Afterwards, he did postdoctoral work at The Johns Hopkins University, Hearing Sciences Center, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of Physiology. There, he concentrated on studying electrical signals that are relevant to coding sound in the cochlea. He is presently Associate Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery where his research explores the mechanisms that turn on cellular and genetic events, regulating the development of nerves and sensory cells in the inner ear.

Research Mission:

Inner ear dysfunction affects millions of children and adults in the form of hearing loss (including deafness), tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and disorders of balance (vertigo). These problems can occur before birth, at birth, or sometime during various stages in life. For those who suffer from tinnitus and vertigo the effects can be frightening and debilitating. Moreover, hearing loss can permanently erode the speech, language and cognitive development of children, as well as diminish or destroy self-confidence and perceptual abilities of adults, whose hearing was once normal but is now degenerating. The underlying causes of many of these disorders are not fully understood and, consequently, are incurable at this time.

My research at the Otology Laboratory of the University of South Florida, Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, is aimed at discovering the principles that underlie the formation of the inner ear prior to birth. An understanding of these principles is essential because it will provide insights into both the genetic and cellular mechanisms that underlie many of these disorders, whether they occur at birth or later in life. Furthermore, research on the developing inner ear shows that, while restoration of damaged cells does not readily occur under normal circumstances in humans, there are species in which healing of damaged tissue occurs naturally. Consequently, understanding how development and restoration occurs in other species will help us to restore function in the damaged inner ears of humans. This understanding is the primary goal of our research and it is my hope that this knowledge will bring about the necessary cures.

University of South Florida
Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery
12901 Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, MDC 73 | Tampa, FL 33612 | (813) 974-4683
email : [email protected]