University of Southern California

USC Neuroscience

Radha Kalluri

Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology
Joint Apt. in Biomedical Engineering
University of Southern California

Research Topics

  1. cochlear mechanics, acoustics, nonlinear wave phenomena
  2. otoacoustic emissions and noninvasive testing of cochlear function
  3. sensory transduction in the auditory and vestibular periphery
  4. biophysics of sensory neurons

Research Overview

Humans can detect eardrum vibrations as small as a picometer as well as those that are nearly a million times larger. This extraordinary ability is made possible by the cochlea, an elegant hydromechanical structure that works to separate sounds of different frequencies and maps them onto a different place on the sensory epithelium (cochlea). This frequency-place map within the cochlea is refined by specialized sensory cells that provide feedback forces to actively amplify local mechanical resonances. Key features of mammalian hearing arise from this feedback mechanism, including sharp frequency selectivity, sensitivity, large dynamic range, and nonlinearities; all of which have important consequences for encoding the subtleties of speech and music. In my lab we are interested in understanding the biophysical mechanisms by which the auditory periphery parses frequency and intensity information, and how these functions degrade with hearing loss. We approach these questions using two key techniques.

First, we study how the hydromechanical properties of the inner ear form the place-frequency map by using non-invasive measurements of inner ear physiology combined with mechanical modeling. Second, using whole-cell patch clamping techniques combined with neuroanatomy and modeling we study the biophysical processes underlying sensory signalling at the first synapse between cochlear sensory cells and the primary auditory neuron.

Contact Information

E-mail:
radha@usc.edu
Mailing Address:
Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute
1500 W. San Pablo St
Los Angeles, CA
Office Location:
ZNI 439
Office Phone:
(323) 442-4820
Lab Location:
ZNI 413

Education

  • Ph.D., Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. 2006
  • M.Sc., Department of Electrical Engineering. University of Southern California, 1997
  • B.Sc., Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1996

Selected Publications

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Joris PX, Bergevin C, Kalluri R, Mc Laughlin M, Michelet P, van der Heijden M, Shera CA. (2011) Frequency selectivity in Old-World monkeys corroborates sharp cochlear tuning in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Oct 18;108(42):17516-20. -PubMed

Abdala C, Dhar S, Kalluri R. (2011) Level dependence of distortion product otoacoustic emission phase is attributed to component mixing. J Acoust Soc Am. May;129(5):3123-33.

Kalluri R, Xue J, Eatock RA. (2010) Ion channels set spike timing regularity of mammalian vestibular afferent neurons.J Neurophysiol. Oct;104(4):2034-51.  -PubMed

Eatock, R.A, Xue J.B., Kalluri, R. (2008) Ion channels in mammalian vestibular afferents may set regularity of firing. J. Exp. Biol.211, 1764 - 1774. -PubMed

Kalluri, R. and Shera, C.A. (2007) Comparing stimulus-frequency otoacoustic emissions measured by compression, suppression, and spectral smoothing. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 122, 3562 ˝U 3575. -PubMed

Kalluri, R. and Shera, C.A. (2007) Near-equivalence of human click-evoked and stimulus-frequency otoacoustic emissions. J. Acoust. Soc. Am.121, 2097 ˝U 2110. -PubMed

Kalluri, R. and Shera, C.A. (2001) Distortion Product Source Unmixing: A test of the two-mechanism model for DPOAE generation. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 109(2), 622 - 637. -PubMed