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NIDCD Visiting Scientist Receives Award from Japanese Medical Association

Yoshihiro Noguchi, M.D., D.Sc., a former NIDCD visiting scientist from Japan, recently received the Medical Association Award from the Tokyo Medical and Dental University. The award is given annually to two young members of the medical faculty who are first authors of an original paper related to clinical or social medicine. The award includes a certificate of merit, a medal, and grant money.

From April 2003 to June 2005, Dr. Noguchi worked in the NIDCD’s Otolaryngology Branch under the direction of its chief, Dr. Andrew Griffith. During that time, Dr. Noguchi studied the patterns and timing of the loss of inner ear sensory cells in a mouse mutant model of a form of progressive hearing loss in humans. Previous work in the Otolaryngology Branch had shown that this form of hearing loss is caused by mutations in a gene called transmembrane channel-like gene 1 (TMC1). Dr. Noguchi showed that the type of hair cell loss and hearing test results in the mouse model were very similar to hearing test abnormalities in auditory neuropathy/dys-synchrony, a hearing disorder in humans in which sound enters the inner ear normally, but the transmission of signals from the inner ear to the brain is impaired. He was also able to identify the chromosomal locations of at least four genes affecting the manifestation of this disorder. Dr. Noguchi’s studies will provide insight into the genetic causes and mechanisms of auditory neuropathy/dys-synchrony, as well as the genetic factors that affect the degeneration of inner ear sensory cells.

Dr. Noguchi is currently an assistant professor of otolaryngology at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University. For more information on his research at the NIDCD, go to

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