Professor of Physiology and Cell Biology Director Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah Is Working To Research New Solutions For People With Hearing Impairment
Ebenezer Yamoah, Ph.D., professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, is well-known for his contributions to research in the areas of hearing loss and restoration. The National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders (NIDCD) is partially funding his current work regarding the investigation of the calcium-dependent functions in hair cells and spinal ganglion neurons.
This work builds upon Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s previous research on how stem cells may be able to restore damaged inner ear cells. Much of Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s previous work has also been partially funded by NIDCD.
In 2008, Ebenezer Yamoah, Ph.D., spoke at Spotlight on Deafness, an educational event hosted by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. During his introduction by Dr. Claire Pomeroy, the Dean of the University of California’s School of Medicine, it was stated that Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s stem cell research may lead scientists to create a biological implant as a replacement for the cochlear implant. This would remove the need for an outside source to repair hearing functions by allowing the body to regenerate and replace hearing cells that have lost their function.
It can be hard to imagine a world in which one of the senses is missing, but up to 10% of people will experience hearing loss at some point in their lifetime. Genetics, age, acoustic trauma, drug use (both legal and illegal), infections, and other factors can cause temporary and/or permanent hearing loss.
In some living things (such as birds) hair cells can regenerate on their own. In humans, this is not the case, according to Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah. When hearing cells in human ears degenerate, they aren’t able to heal/ regenerate on their own. Ebenezer Yamoah, Ph.D., is working on research that may eventually allow stem cells to be injected into the inner ear.
The hope of this type of research is that with proper encouragement, stem cells may be able to incorporate themselves into the temporal bone (contains the inner and middle portions of the ear, and connects to the mandible, forming the temporomandibular, or TMJ, joint of the jaw) of the inner ear, allowing hearing to be partially or fully restored.
Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s research on restoring age-related hearing loss in mice has shown promise, and it’s possible that these results may be replicated in humans.
Why Outer Hair Cells Matter – And How Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s Research May Help Restore Hearing Function In Humans
We rarely take the time to slow down and think about how hearing works. We hear a sound and we know what it means – but the process of a sound occurring, the vibrations from the sound flowing through the air and into our ears, and our brains understanding the meaning behind the sound is quite complicated. Ebenezer Yamoah, Ph.D., is a leading researcher on hearing, studying the specific cell types in the ear that allow hearing and sound interpretation to occur – as well as what can go wrong in the process, and how it can be fixed.
The thought of hearing loss is scary, yet many people experience at least some degree of hearing loss at some point throughout their lives, according to Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah. Genetics, acoustic damage, drug side effects (both legal and illegal), and age can all play a role in the degeneration of hearing over time.
Ebenezer Yamoah, Ph.D., explains that in some animals (such as birds) cells in the ear that are responsible for receiving sound vibrations can regenerate over time, making long-term hearing loss unlikely. In humans, this is not the case. Ebenezer Yamoah, Ph.D., is a leader in researching how stem cells may be used to allow the ear to regenerate hair cells – a type of cell within the ear vital for the process of receiving vibrations and transmitting them to the brain for interpretation.
Outer hair cells work to amplify and tune sound in the cochlea. The cochlea is then responsible for transmitting sound vibrations into electrical impulses, which are then transmitted to the brain for interpretation. Hair cells operate at much higher frequencies than research suggests, based on the electrical properties of the cells, according to Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah. Hair cells are complicated, and currently, cochlear implants are the main course of action for people who have suffered hearing loss. Ebenezer Yamoah, Ph.D., is working to change that.
Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s current research has focused on curing age-related hearing loss in mice. In humans, the only current solution to age-related hearing loss is the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants. Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s work is paving the way for the use of stem cells for age-related hearing loss. He’s proven that delicate hearing cells in mice can be altered with the use of stem cells, and hopefully, the same will soon be true for the ear cells of humans who have suffered age-related hearing loss.
As a current Professor of Physiology and Cell Biology Director in the Communication Science Program at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah has emerged as a leading expert in the field of Age-Related Hearing Loss, or ARHL, and how auditory neurons, and their connections to hair cells, can play a part in reversing deafness.
Age-related hearing loss has become the most common sensory deficit, says Dr. Yamoah, “[and] 30% of people over 65 have some form of hearing deficit, a condition shown to have devastating consequences on quality of life.”
Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s findings are a part of his most current research project, Investigating Mechanisms of the Aging Auditory Neuron, a study funded by the National Institute of Aging (NIA), a part of the National Institute of Health (NIH), that began in 2016, with a targeted end date of May 2021.
Hair Cells | Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah
Says Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah, “The inner ear is structured like an orchestral platform where the symphonic sections play distinct functions. The aging sensory epithelia in the inner ear may succumb to weakening tight junctions between hair cells and their supporting neighboring cells. This may result in the breakdown of the machinery that allows the exquisite sensitivity of hair cells and their neurons to function properly, contributing to hearing loss.”
In his ongoing studies, Dr. Yamoah has sought to determine the physiological neural mechanisms of ARHL, identify candidate genes involved, and demonstrate strategies necessary to counter ARHL. This research builds upon years of work from Dr. Yamoah to pave the way towards utilizing stem cells to restore inner ear cells’ functions.
Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah has recently stated that “to our surprise, we found latent neuronal degeneration of afferent spiral ganglion neuron (SGN)-hair cell (HC) synapses before any apparent manifestation of outer hair cell (HC) bundle disruption and HC loss, using a recognized and distinct ARHL mouse model…We hypothesize that silent neuronal and synaptic degeneration may be the preeminent target to alleviate ARHL.”
In a September 2020 seminar, Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah explained that the primary issue that he and his team are fighting against is that our bodies cannot restore them when human inner ear hair cells degenerate. Thus, the quest for alternative cell sources began as a means to potentially eradicate ARHL, something that could benefit the 10% of the population that experiences some hearing loss in their lifetime, whether it be from genetics, infections, drug use, trauma, and age.
Recurring Presentations and Lectures | Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah
A leading voice in the scientific community regarding ARHL, Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah has traveled the world many times over to do presentations and professorial lectures, including the University of Iowa, the Association for Research in Otolaryngology in San Diego, Northeast Ohio School of Medicine, as well as abroad at the University College of London and the University of Bordeaux in France. Dr. Yamoah’s research and development have potentially life-altering implications and may change humans’ relationship with debilitating hearing.
Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) has become the most common sensory deficit, according to Professor of Physiology and Cell Biology Director in the Communication Science Program at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah.
Says Dr. Yamoah, “30% of people over 65 have some form of hearing deficit, a condition shown to have devastating consequences on quality of life.”
Dr. Yamoah’s findings are a part of his most current research project, Investigating Mechanisms of the Aging Auditory Neuron, a study funded by the National Institute of Aging (NIA), a part of the National Institute of Health (NIH), that began in 2016, with a targeted end date of May 2021.
As laid out by Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah, the mission statement of the study summarizes that “the inner ear is structured like an orchestral platform, where the symphonic sections play distinct functions…Here, we will provide novel experimental results in careful quantitative studies, which will help to understand the fundamental workings of these systems critical to the health and the aging inner ear.”
Determinants of Age-Induced Hearing Loss | Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah
Called the “essence of human interaction,” as Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah cites in his study, Determinants of Age-Induced Hearing Loss and Reversal Strategies, the maintenance of hearing and communication are at the center of this ambitious project. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of ARHL, Dr. Yamoah has assembled an impressive team of experts in the fields of genetics, cell biology, and physiology to work in three separate “core” groups to test the project’s central hypothesis; that aging auditory sensory epithelia, or thick cell layers, undergo structural changes that allow the high [potassium] endolymph – or, fluid in the membrane of the ear – to leak into the inner ear, triggering…synaptic and neuronal degeneration.”
Dr. Yamoah and his team have been using mice to test their hypothesis better. He believes that the proposed studies will reveal critical neural mechanisms of ARHL and, together with data derived from the various core groups, and new therapeutic remedies for ARHL. Dr. Yamoah boldly states that the results from his studies “are likely to transform and shift the prevailing paradigm from descriptive to mechanistic and translational platforms.”
Administrative Core | Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah
Of the three “core” groups assembled to test the Central Hypothesis, perhaps the most critical in keeping the study on track is the Administrative Core. Under Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s leadership as Administrative Core Leader, the Administrative Core has provided financial oversight, clerical support, and informational outreach, coordinated interactions with the various research teams and executive committees, administered collaborative contractual agreements with Stanford University, University of Washington, and Saint Louis University, ensured regulatory compliance with regards to animal rights, resource sharing and public access for publications, as well as, most importantly, that the scientific objections of the hypothesis have been met.
Award-Winning Track Record | Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah
A perfectly-suited leader for this critical ongoing research, Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah has amassed an impressive number of accolades in his acclaimed career in science and academia. Namely, Dr. Yamoah was awarded the 1988 American Society for Cell Biology Summer Fellowship, the 1989 Potters’ Research Fellowship, the 1994 Grass Foundation Research Fellowship, and the 2010 Dean of School of Medicine Research Excellence Award from the University of California, Davis, CA. Yamoah’s studies are set to complete in 2021, with potentially world-altering results that can benefit citizens worldwide.
Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah is proud to announce that he is celebrating more than 30 years of distinguished service to the Fields of Neurophysiology & Biophysics. As a Physiology and Cell Biology professor at the Communication Science Program at the University of Nevada’s Reno School of Medicine, Dr. Yamoah has had the pleasure of seeing many of his students go on to fruitful and productive careers.
Over the years, Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah has received several prestigious awards. These include the 1988 American Society for Cell Biology Summer Fellowship, the Hole, MA 1989 Potters’ Research Fellowship, the MA 1994 Grass Foundation Research Fellowship, 2005 Visiting Fellow, MBL, BioCurrent Research Facility, Woods Hole, the MA 2000 – 2002 Josiah Macy Faculty Research Fellowship in Neuroscience, and the 2005 – 2007 Faculty Mentorship Award 2010 Dean of School of Medicine Research Excellence Award, University of California, Davis, CA.
At present, Dr. Yamoah has been awarded five current grants to support his work and his colleagues’ work, with another yet pending and grant funding for over a dozen completed projects.
Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah enjoys positions of distinguished membership in the Society for Neuroscience, the Biophysical Society, the American Association for the Advancement in Science, the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO), and the Society for General Physiologists.
Over his many years of distinguished service to science and education, Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah has given numerous presentations and delivered visiting professor lectures worldwide. In November of 2018, Dr. Yamoah gave a presentation entitled “Oddments of K+ Channel Functions in Hair Cells and Auditory Neuron Properties that Shape the Speed of Hearing at the University of Iowa, Neuroscience Seminar Series.”
Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah’s work in neurophysiology, the auditory system, hair cells, and biophysics has been invaluable in treating medical conditions covered by this body of knowledge and to his fellow researchers. Dr. Yamoah’s active devotion to the development of understanding in these areas of interest has made his career as an educator second to none.
While Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah enjoys recognition for his many professional accomplishments in administration, research, and pedagogy, in addition to his contributions to science, he is most proud of the praise that has been heaped upon him by the many successful students who have passed through his classroom. To be sure, without Dr. Yamoah’s talent and dedication as an educator, the prospects of those who have studied under him would be measurably dimmer.
Age-Related Hearing Loss Is One of the Most Common Chronic Medical Disorders and There Are Multiple Treatment Options Available
During the past few years, there has been a tremendous amount of attention paid to age-related hearing loss. As the population continues to get older, age-related hearing loss is only going to become more common. With the help of research scientists such as Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah, the scientific community and the general public as a whole has increased its understanding of this disorder. Also called presbycusis, it is important for everyone to be familiar with how this hearing loss develops and what the treatment options might be.
Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah Defines Presbycusis
Before discussing the treatment options of presbycusis, it is important to listen to professionals such as Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah when it comes to defining this disorder. Presbycusis is the gradual loss of hearing that takes place in both ears. According to research papers, including some of those published by Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah close to a third of adults over the age of 65 are going to have some degree of hearing loss. Some of the factors that contribute to presbycusis include continuous exposure to loud noise, genetic factors, a loss of hair cells, and various health conditions. Furthermore, some medications such as aspirin and diuretics could also lead to hearing loss.
Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah Discusses Treatment Options for Age-Related Hearing Loss
For those who have been diagnosed with age-related hearing loss, there are a few treatment options to know it. Some of these include:
- Hearing Aids: Hearing aids are designed to amplify noise as it enters the ear. There’s a microphone that collects the sound as it enters the ear. Then, the sound is converted to electrical signals that are transmitted to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and transmits them through the ear via a speaker.
- Speech to Text Devices: Another treatment option for those who suffer from presbycusis is a speech to text option. This is a device that collects speech and translates it into readable text that individuals can see.
- Cochlear Implants: There may be some individuals who could benefit from cochlear implants. Used in both children and adults, cochlear implants could be an effective treatment option for some forms of hearing loss.
- Research professionals such as Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah and his collaborators have been teaming up with clinicians to make sure that patients who require treatment for age-related hearing loss have access to the resources they need. Presbycusis treatment could dramatically improve the quality of life of those who suffer from hearing loss.
Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah Discusses the Future of Presbycusis Treatment
Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah and others have worked hard to deepen their understanding of age-related hearing loss and provide new treatment options. Right now, Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah and others are still actively exploring age-related hearing loss and its treatments. If we’re, there may be new treatment options that are developed in the future.
Where others in academia have abused the recent interest in platforming minorities in STEM and other areas, Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah has worked hard with organizations and individuals to promote diversity and ensure minorities of all backgrounds are represented in professor positions as well as class positions.
In early August, neuroscientist BethAnn McLaughlin was discovered to have created a fake Twitter account for a non-existent bisexual Native American professor via the handle @Sciencing_Bi. McLaughlin, who is white, used the fake account to boost the credibility of her own account after she had come under fire for bullying women of color who had signed up to help McLaughlin’s MeTooSTEM organization, founded to assist sexual abuse survivors in the STEM field. McLaughlin was discovered of her deceit after ‘killing’ @Sciencing_Bi by alleging she had contracted COVID-19 after being forced to continue working with students at her university.
While there was a lot to unpack in this story, quite arguably the most frustrating aspect was that a white woman tried to use the story of others to conceal her own failures to minorities in the STEM field. Currently, one-third of minority students leave their STEM majors citing reasons that include either true exclusion or discrimination or simply the feeling of there being exclusion and discrimination. Thus, the use of a fake account to amplify nonexistent exclusion and discrimination towards minorities only hurts the cause.
The Real Actions of Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah
Contrast this type of action to that of the real world and real success action of minority professors and research powerhouses like Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah. Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah has served for many years as a member of the College of CSR Reviewers to assist and support reviews of minority biomedical research. Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah has also served as a member and chair for the minority program at the Association of Research in Otolaryngology and as a member of that same organization’s publication committee. Where McLaughlin amplified a false voice that benefited only herself, Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah has amplified real minority voices in the STEM field, including people of color, women, and those disabled, to ensure that faculty members and both current and postdoc students get the funding and support they need to reach their goals.
As an underrepresented minority in the United States and the field of science, Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah is no stranger to the real barriers that exist. Or the continued discrimination and hate crimes people of color and marginal communities face. In 2014, vandals scrawled hateful racial slurs across the windows of the UC Neurosciences Building and directed toward Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah and his colleague. Two years before that, a noose and a swastika were found in the same community.
The difference, however, is that Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah has done the actual work necessary to amplify real voices. Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah serves as a leader for positive change in the STEM field in regards to promoting diversity and greater inclusion. When you want real action, you want people like Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah. Dr. Ebenezer Yamoah remains active in his research enterprise at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he is the principal investigator of multiple, highly competitive NIH funded grants and he also directs a program project grant from the National Institute on Aging.