Hearing researchers can get into gEAR and accelerate discoveries


research tools


An online portal has been launched as a hub for accessible, well-organised and curated data to help researchers seeking to advance discoveries to reverse hearing loss. The resource - gEAR - is encouraging worldwide input to its current stash of over 800 datasets.

Unveiled this summer in the science methodology journal Nature Methods, the portal—gene Expression Analysis Resource (gEAR)—is free to use, and among its benefits is the capacity for researchers to see their findings in the context of other public data prior to making their own studies public. A permalink can be included in the manuscript to link readers directly to a curated view of that dataset.

Cell regeneration

Scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) are behind the launch, having already run a soft launch of the portal for a limited number of colleagues and academics. The site has now built up 1,200 registered users and has over 80 citations in research studies.

So far, one of the main key projects advanced through the curated data on the portal is in understanding hair cell regeneration, which occurs in some animals but not in others or in humans. This research is a prime concern of the Hearing Restoration Project, a non-profit research consortium (funded by the Hearing Health Foundation) that provided initial support for gEAR.

Gene expression

The portal is also of particular value to hearing researchers focusing genetic aspects, as it provides easy access to genetic and other molecular data from hundreds of technical research studies, helping academics identify which cells express any gene in the ear.

The gEAR portal's development has been funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Hearing Restoration Project (HRP), part of the Hearing Health Foundation (HHF).

Source: News Medical Life Sciences