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Benjamin Perrin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology

Education/Training:
Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (2005)
Postdoctoral, Cell Biology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (2006)
Postdoctoral, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (2011)

Cell biology of age-related hearing loss.
Hearing and balance depend on specialized sensory cells in the inner ear, which are called hair cells because they are topped with an array of thin protrusions known as stereocilia.  Stereocilia are primarily made from the cytoskeletal protein actin, and they are organized into a bundle with a very precise architecture.  Deflections of the bundle by sound waves are coupled to ion channel opening, resulting in the conversion of mechanical movement into a neuronal signal. Humans are born with ~20,000 of these sensory cells and they are not renewed.  As a result, hair cell dysfunction and degeneration contribute to many forms of adult onset deafness, including noise-induced and age-related hearing loss.  These acquired forms of hearing loss are common and interfere with the ability of people to communicate.  Future therapeutic approaches depend on solving fundamental questions about cytoskeletal cell biology. My lab studies how the hair cell bundle is maintained and repaired at a molecular level.  In particular, we are focused on how the very stable array of actin filaments that form stereocilia are regulated and remodeled to maintain bundle morphology over the lifespan of an organism.

Search for Dr. Perrin on PubMed

Selected Publications:

  • Narayanan P, Chatterton P, Ikeda A, Ikeda S, Corey DP, Ervasti JM, and Perrin BJ. “Length regulation of mechanosensitive stereocilia depends on very slow actin dynamics and filament severing proteins.” Nature Communications 6:6855 doi: 10.1038/ncomms7855 (2015). PMID: 25897778
  • Zhang DS, Piazza V, Perrin BJ, Rzadzinska AK, Collin Poczatek J, Prosser HM, Ervasti JM, Corey DP, Lechene CP. "Multi-isotope imaging mass spectrometry (MIMS) reveals slow protein turnover in stereocilia of inner ear hair cells."  Nature 481:520 (2012). PMID: 22246323.
  • Perrin BJ, Strandjord DM, Narayanan P, Henderson DM, Johnson KR, Ervasti JM. "β-Actin and fascin-2 cooperate to maintain stereocilia length."  Journal of Neuroscience. 33:8114 (2013). PMID 23658152.
  • Perrin BJ, Sonnemann KJ and Ervasti JM. "β-actin and γ-actin are each dispensable for auditory hair cell development but required for stereocilia maintenance." PLoS Genetics.  6(10):e1001158 (2010). PMCID: PMC2954897

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