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Student at Cleveland’s University School Conducts Research on the Role of Hair Cells in Hearing
Date:10/31/2013

Hunting Valley, Ohio (PRWEB) October 31, 2013

Who would have thought that a tiny fish could play such a big role in medical research?

University School senior Andrew “Drew” Megerian certainly knows. Using the minnow-sized zebrafish in his research, Drew is working with Dr. Brian McDermott and other researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine to learn more about how hair cells play a role in hearing.

“The hair cells of zebrafish are similar to those of humans,” Drew explained. “They also share the same genes as humans that cause deafness so they are ideal models for this kind of research.”

Since 2010, Drew has been working with Ph.D. candidate Lana Pollock at Case. He is studying the protein composition in the stereocilia of the hair cell, which is located in the inner ear and is most responsible for relaying audio impulses to the brain.

“The structural properties of certain proteins within the stereocilia directly correlate to the brain's ability to perceive sound," said Drew. “The aim of this research is to better understand how people hear with the ultimate goal of helping those with hearing problems.”

In February, Drew will travel to Chicago to represent the Ohio Academy of Science at the American Junior Academy of Science’s (AJAS) Annual Meeting. Drew was selected based on his appearance last spring at the Ohio Academy of Science’s Annual Conference where he presented his research and submitted a manuscript of his work.

“As a high school student, this is an amazing opportunity to work in a hospita
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