Erick Lin, PhD


Department of Otolaryngology

Office: 542 Whitehead Building

Phone: 404 727-3723


Office Location:

Mailing Address:

Emory University - Department of Otolaryngology

615 Michael Street, 0200/001/1AA

Atlanta, GA 30322

Research Focus

The primary aim of my lab is to understand how ion channels and receptors contribute to the transduction and homeostasis in the cochlea. The transduction process in the cochlea which turns the mechanical vibration into impulses in the auditory nerve, and homeostasis mechanisms which maintain special fluid and ionic balances in the inner ear, both require the concerted actions of many types of ion channels/receptors in the cell membrane. Currently our focuses are on the efferent receptors (Ach and GABA receptors) carrying out the lateral olivocochlear efferent functions, and on the role of gap junctions in the cochlear functions. We use a multidisciplinary approach, including eletrophysiological and optical recordings made from cochlear slice and hemicochlear preparations, creation of mouse models of deafness carrying human connexin mutations, to understand roles of important ion channels critically involved in the normal function of the cochlea.

Mutations in the connexins (building blocks of gap junctions) genes are one of the most common forms of human genetic defects, and in many ethnic groups connexin mutations account for about 50% of childhood deafness. How these mutations affect the function of gap junctions in the inner ear is not clear now. Many ototoxic and tinnitus-inducing drugs interact directly with ion channels in the inner ear, therefore, our research should help understanding how malfunctions of these membrane proteins (e.g., connexins) contribute to sensorineural hearing loss, ototoxicity and some forms of drug-induced tinnitus.