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Alain Dabdoub
Alain Dabdoub, PhD
Long-term time lapse imaging of mouse cochlear explants

Learn more about long-term time lapse imaging of mouse cochlear explants in this video


Sonja Koerner Hearing Regeneration Laboratory
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Ave., A3 42
Toronto, ON
M4N 3M5

Phone: 416-480-6804
Fax: 416-480-4375

Administrative assistant: Sue Santillo
Phone: 416-480-5504


  • B.Sc., 1989, zoology, University of Maryland, U.S.
  • PhD, 1999, biology, University of Maryland, U.S.

Appointments and Affiliations:

  • Scientist, Biological Sciences, Hurvitz Brain Sciences Research Program, Sunnybrook Research Institute
  • Research director, Sunnybrook Hearing Regeneration Initiative, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Associate professor, departments of otolaryngology – head & neck surgery; and laboratory medicine and pathobiology, University of Toronto

Research Foci:

  • Developmental neuroscience
  • Wnt and Notch signalling transduction cascades
  • Transcription factors
  • Hearing research
  • Regenerative medicine

Research Summary:

Abnormalities in the developmental processes needed for the formation of the cochlea (hearing organ), result in deafness, one of the most common birth defects in humans. Furthermore, hearing impairment is the fastest growing, and one of the most prevalent, chronic conditions facing older adults. Our research is focused on discovering and elucidating the molecular signaling cascades and transcription factors responsible for the generation and development of inner ear sensory hair cells (cells that detect sound), and auditory neurons (cells that transmit sound information from hair cells to the brain). Once lost, these cell types are never recovered in humans and other mammals. The aim of our research is to understand how cochlear cells are generated during development to guide strategies for regenerative medicine for the amelioration of hearing loss.

Dr. Dabdoub's ongoing research projects include sensory hair cell development and regeneration focusing on the function of Wnt and Notch signaling pathways, endogenous regeneration of primary auditory neurons using neurogenic transcription factors for cellular reprogramming, and generating a molecular atlas of the blood-labyrinth barrier serving as a platform for discovering new drug targets and unlocking mechanisms of non-invasive delivery to the inner ear.

Become a partner in our research progress

Philanthropy is the cornerstone of our progress enabling us to pursue high-risk, high-reward projects. To support research in the Dabdoub laboratory and accelerate discovery toward a cure for hearing loss and balance disorders, please contact:

Adrianne O’Halloran, Executive Director, Advancement, Sunnybrook Foundation

Selected Publications:

See current publications list at PubMed.

  1. Mulvaney JF, Thompkins C, Noda T, Nishimura K, Sun WW, Lin S-Y, Coffin A, Dabdoub A. Kremen1 regulates mechanosensory cell development in the mammalian cochlea and zebrafish lateral line. Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 23;6:31668.
  2. Geng R, Noda T, Mulvaney JF, Lin VY, Edge A, Dabdoub A. Comprehensive expression of Wnt signaling pathway genes during development and maturation of the mouse cochlea. PLoS One. 2016 Feb 9;11(2):e0148339.
  3. Mulvaney JF, Amemiya Y, Freeman S, Ladher R, Dabdoub A. Molecular cloning and functional characterization of chicken Atonal homologue 1: comparison with human Atoh1. Biol Cell. 2015 Feb;107(2):41–60.
  4. Nishimura K, Weichert RM, Liu W, Davis RL, Dabdoub A. Generation of induced neurons by direct reprogramming in the mammalian cochlea. Neuroscience. 2014 Sep;275:125–35.
  5. Jacques B, Montgomery WH, Uribe PM, Yatteau A, Asunicon JD, Resendiz G, Matsui JI, Dabdoub, A. The role of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in proliferation and regeneration of the developing basilar papilla and lateral line. Dev Neurobiol. 2014 Apr;74(4):438–56.
  6. Jacques B, Puligilla C, Weichert RM, Ferrer-Vaquer A, Hadjantonakis AK, Kelley MW and Dabdoub A. A dual function for canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the developing mammalian cochlea. Development. 2012 Dec 1;139(23):4395–4404.


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The first three images depict the research of Dabdoub and colleagues, which was featured on the journal’s cover.