29 March 2005
UCL student Jonathan Bird is the first recipient of the Pauline Ashley Prize, a unique award aimed at encouraging young scientists to undertake research into hearing conditions.
The prize was established in memory of Lady Ashley of Stoke, founder of the charity Defeating Deafness. The prize will be awarded annually to a talented postgraduate student or post-doctoral fellow to commence or continue research into hearing and deafness.
Mr Bird (Physiology) is studying for a PhD in Cellular Physiology and received the £5,000 award for his research into the repair and regeneration of the avian inner ear. He said: "Unlike the mammalian ear, where noise-induced deafness is permanent, birds are able to quickly regenerate their hearing. My research focuses on the cellular signalling that drives this regeneration process." The award will allow him to travel to Washington University in Missouri, USA, and spend four months working with Dr Mark Warchol in the Department of Otolaryngology, who has also been studying avian hearing regeneration.
Mr Bird said: "Understanding how some animals regenerate their hearing will give us important clues into how this might be triggered in the mammalian ear. Working at Washington University will give me the chance to collaborate with eminent hearing researchers, and return to UCL with new ideas for future projects. I would like to thank Defeating Deafness for this wonderful opportunity".
The award ceremony was held at the newly opened UCL Ear Institute, an internationally recognized research centre which focuses on the understanding and management of all aspects of hearing and balance and their disorders.
To find out more about the institute or Defeating Deafness use the links below.