Dr. Pawlowski has worked on ultrastructure of the inner ear since 1982. Her lab investigates the effects of mutated genes responsible for auditory and vestibular pathology on the Organ of Corti morphology. The lab focuses on the understanding of the role of genes that are responsible for hearing loss, in hopes that it will lead to the development of new treatments in the future. Presently the work concentrates on describing the inner ear pathology caused by several mutations associated with Usher’s syndrome, a condition where patients lose their hearing early in life followed by the loss of vision by early adulthood.

Dr. Pawlowski’s laboratory also performs research and development of medications and materials designed to treat various forms of otitis media. The ongoing research also focuses on the reduction of indwelling implant failure, which is often associated with biofilm-based infections. Biofilms play a role in the development of intractable infections that require surgery to remove the affected tissue or implant. The lab studies the behavior of biofilm in vivo and in vitro to develop techniques that stop biofilms from forming, and to treat existing biofilm-based infections.

Quick facts

  • Approximately 17 percent (36 million) of American adults report some degree of hearing loss.
  • Roughly 25 million Americans have experienced tinnitus.
  • About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born deaf or hard-of-hearing.
  • Three out of 4 children experience ear infection (otitis media) by the time they are 3 years old.
  • 18 percent of American adults 45-64 years old, 30 percent of adults 65-74 years old, and 47 percent of adults 75 years old or older have a hearing loss.