Prof. Dr. Tobias Moser is a neuroscientist, otologist, and audiologist at the Göttingen Campus in Germany. Since 2015, he directs the Institute for Auditory Neuroscience at the University Medical Center Göttingen and leads research groups at the German Primate Center and the Max-Planck-Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences. His main areas of research are synaptic coding and processing of auditory information as well as innovative approaches to the restoration of hearing in the deaf. For his work, he has received several awards including the Leibniz prize, the Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine and the Scientific Grand Prize of the Fondation pour l’Audition.
Towards the Optical Cochlear Implant: Optogenetic Stimulation of the Auditory Pathway
Bettina Wolf, Antoine Huet and Tobias Moser
When hearing fails, cochlear implants (CIs) provide open speech perception to most of the currently half a million CI users. CIs bypass the defective sensory organ and stimulate the auditory nerve electrically. The major bottleneck of current CIs is the poor coding of spectral information, which results from wide current spread from each electrode contact. As light can be more conveniently confined, optical stimulation of the auditory nerve presents a promising perspective for a fundamental advance of CIs. Developing optogenetic stimulation for auditory research and future CIs requires efforts toward design and characterization of appropriate optogenetic actuators, viral gene transfer to the neurons, as well as engineering of multichannel optical CIs. The presentations will summarize the current state of optogenetic stimulation of the auditory pathway and report on recent breakthroughs on achieving high temporal fidelity and frequency resolution and establishing multichannel optical CIs.