NIDCD National Human Ear Tissue Laboratory Resource for Hearing and Balance Research (U24)

RFA-DC-17-001
NIDCD National Human Ear Tissue Laboratory Resource for Hearing and Balance Research (U24)
Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health

Tom Cervantes
In this Monday, July 2, 2012 photo Tom Cervantes, of Boston, a research engineer at the Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Organ Fabrication at Massachusetts General Hospital, displays a titanium frame designed for the reconstruction of a human ear, left, and a three dimensional plastic ear model, right, at the lab, in Boston. Scientists are growing ears, bone and skin in the lab, and doctors are planning more face transplants and other extreme plastic surgeries. Around the country, the most advanced medical tools that exist are now being deployed to help America’s newest veterans and wounded troops. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Objectives

Establishing a national laboratory resource for auditory and vestibular researchers will benefit all those who use human inner and middle ear tissues for a range of basic and clinical studies.  The Laboratory will develop and provide technical services for procuring, preparing, sectioning and distributing high-quality human tissues; develop and disseminate techniques for improved tissue processing; develop imaging methods for human middle and inner ear structures, including cellular and membranous components; and provide opportunities for technical instruction in the special skills needed to prepare ear and use tissues from post-mortem human temporal bone donations.  A cooperative agreement will coordinate interactions with the basic and clinical research community and maximize impact while avoiding duplicative efforts.  This resource will benefit a broad spectrum of research projects by providing critical technological improvements to analyze human ear tissues, with an impact on translational work and eventually the clinic, for the NIDCD mission to help prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat deafness and other communication disorders.

Background and Need

Structural details of the inner ear sensory organs for hearing and balance are difficult to study in humans because these soft tissues are encased in the dense temporal bone of the skull. The cochlea and the vestibular system are not readily accessible for biopsy or by non-invasive techniques that preserve function in living subjects. The value of otopathology in understanding ear diseases and disorders is without question, yet studies of human auditory and vestibular tissues are limited by the uneven quality of preservation and preparation of donated post-mortem specimens. These restrictions seriously limit progress in understanding pathology of the organs of hearing and balance in humans. Many investigators have relied instead on animal studies for experiments, but the necessary human relevance of such studies has not been forthcoming, and a few reported human results are significantly different from those in animals.  The critical need to relate findings from animal models to human ear disorders has been emphasized repeatedly in various research meetings as well as the recent NIDCD Strategic Plan. The 2015 NIDCD Research Workshop: “Synaptopathy and Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: Animal Studies and Implications for Human Hearing” emphasized the need for human data to reveal structural correlates of genetic and physiological disorders of the human ear as well as to visualize the consequences of therapeutic treatments including drugs and devices. However, technological challenges in acquisition, processing, and visualization of human ear tissues are not trivial, and very few temporal bone labs still prepare new human material. The purpose of this U24 is to create a single national laboratory to serve the auditory and vestibular basic and clinical research communities more broadly, by improving the quantity, quality and availability of human specimens, by developing and sharing advances in methods and techniques for human ear tissue processing, by developing technologies for non-invasive imaging, and by providing technical instruction, all to enhance opportunities for needed research on human ear tissues.

NIDCD continues to support the NIDCD National Temporal Bone, Hearing and Balance Pathology Resource Registry (‘the Registry’) as a separate U24 award. The Registry is an information center that coordinates and archives data about recruited temporal bone donors and location of specimens nationwide, and maintains a network of contacts for timely procurement of tissue. The Registry serves as a database, which does not obtain or process specimens or do research. Creating a complementary national research resource to acquire and improve processing of human middle and inner ear tissues is a related but distinct activity designed to provide technological improvements for new research contributions from a wide range of investigators.

General Information

Document Type: Grants Notice
Funding Opportunity Number: RFA-DC-17-001
Funding Opportunity Title: NIDCD National Human Ear Tissue Laboratory Resource for Hearing and Balance Research (U24)
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement
Category of Funding Activity: Health
Category Explanation:
Expected Number of Awards: 1
CFDA Number(s): 93.173 — Research Related to Deafness and Communication Disorders
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement: No
Posted Date: Jan 13, 2016
Creation Date: Jan 13, 2016
Original Closing Date for Applications: Mar 31, 2016  
Current Closing Date for Applications: Mar 31, 2016  
Archive Date: May 1, 2016
Estimated Total Program Funding: $750,000
Award Ceiling: $475,000
Award Floor:

Eligibility

Eligible Applicants:
For profit organizations other than small businesses
Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
Special district governments
Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
State governments
County governments
City or township governments
Private institutions of higher education
Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
Additional Information on Eligibility: See full announcement for complete details.

Additional Information

Agency Name: National Institutes of Health
Description: This FOA will establish a laboratory as a national technological resource for auditory and vestibular researchers who use human inner and middle ear tissues for a range of basic and clinical studies. The Laboratory will develop and provide technical services for procuring, preparing, sectioning and distributing high-quality human ear tissues; develop and disseminate techniques for improved tissue preservation and for imaging human middle and inner ear structures, including cellular and membranous components; and provide opportunities for technical instruction in the special skills needed to prepare ear and use tissues from post-mortem human temporal bones.A cooperative agreement will coordinate interactions with the research community to maximize impact and novelty while avoiding duplicative efforts.This resource will benefit a broad spectrum of research projects, including clinical and translational, by providing a critical link towards the translation of animal studies to the human ear and eventually the clinic, for the NIDCD mission to help prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat deafness and other communication disorders.
Link to Additional Information: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DC-17-001.html
Contact Information: If you have difficulty accessing the full announcement electronically, please contact:

eRA Service Desk Monday to Friday 7 am to 8 pm ET http://grants.nih.gov/support/ Phone 1-866-504-9552
Grants Info

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