Project 1 - Biological diversity in plasticity and adaptation

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The aim of the first topic is to understand outcome variations in individuals with HI following therapy, where a number of treated children do not meet the expectations of the clinicians. The reasons for this variability are unknown. Along with peripheral factors (e.g. individual size of the cochlea, binaural vs. monaural hearing) also central factors play a cardinal role. The extent and limits of brain plasticity in children and the available brain resources will directly influence the outcome of auditory restoration and are a likely factor of variability. One particular focus will be the role of hearing and the consequences of hearing impariment for mutual integration of sensory inputs and the cognitive adaptations, as well as the relationship between individual variations and outcome variability. The first project will concentrate on biological (mechanistic) processes underlying this outcome variability at the peripheral and central level.

The main beneficiary of the project Biological diversity in plasticity and adaptation is the Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, with Andrej Kral acting as supervisor. The work topics for ESR will be supervised by HörSys, the KU Leuven, the University of Oslo, and OTIC, as well as the partner organisation Centre Hospitalier Brugmann. The four tasks focus on different aspects of neuronal plasticity in hearing impairment: peripheral constraints on auditory learning (Topic 1.1 & Topic 1.2), cellular mechanism of cross-modal plasticity in animal models (Topic 1.3), and systemic effects in children (Topic 1.2 & Topic 1.4). Using this approach, the first project may assess the plastic reorganisations at all levels and by that will allow an excellent insight into the topics to all ESRs involved in the programme.

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