M. Christian Brown, PhD
Dr. Christian Brown is an investigator in the Eaton-Peabody Laboratories at Mass. Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School, where he investigates the descending neural systems of the auditory pathway. His studies are focused on the olivocochlear system, which consists of several groups of brainstem neurons that control activity in the cochlea and the cochlear nucleus. He further studies motoneurons that innervate the middle-ear muscles and whose action regulates sound transmission through the middle ear. Together, these systems reduce the effects of noise masking and provide protection from damage caused by high-level sound.
His research also focuses on improving the auditory brainstem implant (ABI). The ABI is a neural prosthesis that restores hearing in deaf individuals that are not eligible for cochlear implants. However, the ABI is not as successful as the cochlear implant because users do not understand speech as well. Research in this area develops improved methods for electrical stimulation and the potential for optogenetic stimulation in a next-generation ABI.
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