Brain Sciences


Knowledge exchange project assists the development of treatments for hearing and balance disorders

A course introduces UCL Ear Institute scientists to clinical services at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital (UCLH RNTNEH). UCL’s Translational Research Office (TRO) provided support.

Dr Peter Keating

6 May 2021

The UCL Ear Institute, part of the Faculty of Brain Sciences, has a mission to understand hearing and fight deafness. Analysis conducted by RAND reveals that UCL has the most influential researchers in this field in England. One in six people suffers from hearing loss, so there’s a massive demand for more therapies.

The TRO pioneers a translational research culture across the university, particularly in the Faculties of Life and Medical Sciences. The department was aware that often scientists working in hearing research lack awareness of how clinical services are delivered. The TRO championed the idea that by promoting greater understanding, researchers could create new treatments best suited to clinicians and patients.

To improve the knowledge exchange between clinical and non-clinical teams, the TRO submitted a secondment application for Dr Peter Keating of the UCL Ear Institute. Dr Keating then helped develop a Mini MD course in hearing and balance disorders. This Mini MD enables UCL scientists to spend a week job shadowing at UCLH RNTNEH. The project also sought to foster knowledge exchange between UCL/UCLH and the World Hearing Center in Poland.

The project has strengthened connections between clinicians and scientists at UCL and UCLH and has led to a range of new collaborations. A UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship is supporting some of the follow-on activities. The Mini MD course now takes place annually.

“The project worked very well. The basic scientists who participated were very interested in clinical work and seemed to get a lot out of their time observing clinics… Clinicians also found it very interesting to engage with scientists who sometimes have a very different perspective on hearing loss. The potential for collaboration during the project and beyond is also something that was especially appreciated by the broader team.” – UCLH RNTNEH.


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