Coordinated Somatosensory and Acoustic Stimulation Alters Auditory Bran Activity: Implications for Treating Hearing Disorders

Friday, November 1, 2013 - 2:00pm
Fung Auditorium | Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall
Hubert Lim

Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Otolaryngology

University of Minnesota

Coordinated Somatosensory and Acoustic Stimulation Alters Auditory Bran Activity: Implications for Treating Hearing Disorders

Abstract: 
In this talk, I will present a new concept for noninvasive neuromodulation (Multimodal Synchronization Therapy, MST) that takes advantage of the brain’s dense interconnectivity among different sensory, motor, cognitive, and limbic centers to potentially achieve localized activation of pathogenic neurons. To demonstrate proof-of-concept, we performed experiments in a guinea pig model, focusing on interactions between the somatosensory and auditory system. We discovered a somatotopic organization within a core auditory region that provides at least one way for systematically modulating the auditory pathways with body stimulation. We have also been able to alter coding properties, such as suppression of excitability, in different auditory neurons by varying the location of body stimulation, acoustic stimulation parameters, and the delay between the body and acoustic stimuli. Suppression of excitability may not only be relevant for hearing disorders, such as tinnitus and hyperacusis, but also for other brain disorders with abnormal hyperactivity in pathogenic neurons. Based on these initial results, I will discuss the challenges and opportunities for further developing and translating MST for treating brain disorders in patients.
Bio: 

Hubert H. Lim received the B.S. degree in Bioengineering at the University of California-San Diego in 2000. He received the M.S.E. degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2002, the M.S.E. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 2004, and the Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2005 at the University of Michigan. From 2006-2009, he was a postdoctoral researcher in the Otolaryngology Department at Hannover Medical University in Germany as well as an engineering consultant for Cochlear Limited. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Otolaryngology at the University of Minnesota. Lim’s research is focused on developing invasive and noninvasive neural stimulation approaches for treating hearing disorders, including deafness and tinnitus. His lab performs neurophysiology and perceptual studies in animals and humans to better understand sound processing within the brain and how to elicit targeted activation and plasticity within the auditory system.