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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

Senior scientist

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:

  • Senior 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. Nyberg S, Abbott JN, Shi X, Steyger PS, Dabdoub A. Delivery of therapeutics to the inner ear: The challenge of the blood-labyrinth barrier. Sci Transl Med. 2019 Mar 6;11(482). doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aao0935.
  2. Samarajeewa A, Lenz DR, Xie L, Chiang H, Kirchner R, Mulvaney JF, Edge ASB, Dabdoub A. Transcriptional response to Wnt activation regulates the regenerative capacity of the mammalian cochlea. Development. 2018 Nov 27;145(23). doi: 10.1242/dev.166579.
  3. Noda T, Meas SJ, Nogami J, Amemiya Y, Uchi R, Ohkawa Y, Dabdoub A. Direct reprograming of spiral ganglion non-neuronal cells into neurons: Towards ameliorating sensorineural hearing loss by gene therapy. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2018 Feb 14;6:16. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2018.00016.


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