Academic Appointments

  • Instructor, Otolaryngology (Head and Neck Surgery)

All Publications

  • Human otic progenitor cell models of congenital hearing loss reveal potential pathophysiologic mechanisms of Zika virus and cytomegalovirus infections. mBio Harding, A. T., Ocwieja, K., Jeong, M., Zhang, Y., Leger, V., Jhala, N., Stankovic, K. M., Gehrke, L. 2024: e0019924


    Congenital hearing loss is a common chronic condition affecting children in both developed and developing nations. Viruses correlated with congenital hearing loss include human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and Zika virus (ZIKV), which causes congenital Zika syndrome. The mechanisms by which HCMV and ZIKV infections cause hearing loss are poorly understood. It is challenging to study human inner ear cells because they are encased in bone and also scarce as autopsy samples. Recent advances in culturing human stem cell-derived otic progenitor cells (OPCs) have allowed us herein to describe successful in vitro infection of OPCs with HCMV and ZIKV, and also to propose potential mechanisms by which each viral infection could affect hearing. We find that ZIKV infection rapidly and significantly induces the expression of type I interferon and interferon-stimulated genes, while OPC viability declines, at least in part, from apoptosis. In contrast, HCMV infection did not appear to upregulate interferons or cause a reduction in cell viability, and instead disrupted expression of key genes and pathways associated with inner ear development and function, including Cochlin, nerve growth factor receptor, SRY-box transcription factor 11, and transforming growth factor-beta signaling. These findings suggest that ZIKV and HCMV infections cause congenital hearing loss through distinct pathways, that is, by inducing progenitor cell death in the case of ZIKV infection, and by disruption of critical developmental pathways in the case of HCMV infection.Congenital virus infections inflict substantial morbidity and devastating disease in neonates worldwide, and hearing loss is a common outcome. It has been difficult to study viral infections of the human hearing apparatus because it is embedded in the temporal bone of the skull. Recent technological advances permit the differentiation of otic progenitor cells (OPCs) from human-induced pluripotent stem cells. This paper is important for demonstrating that inner ear virus infections can be modeled in vitro using OPCs. We infected OPCs with two viruses associated with congenital hearing loss: human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a DNA virus, or Zika virus (ZIKV), an RNA virus. An important result is that the gene expression and cytokine production profiles of HCMV/ZIKV-infected OPCs are markedly dissimilar, suggesting that mechanisms of hearing loss are also distinct. The specific molecular regulatory pathways identified in this work could suggest important targets for therapeutics.

    View details for DOI 10.1128/mbio.00199-24

    View details for PubMedID 38440980

  • Molecular and Clinical Significance of Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 in Development and Regeneration of the Auditory System Front Mol Neurosci Jeong, M., Bojkovic , K., Sagi, V., Stankovic, K. M. 2021; 14: 757441
  • Molecular and Clinical Significance of Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 in Development and Regeneration of the Auditory System. Frontiers in molecular neuroscience Jeong, M., Bojkovic, K., Sagi, V., Stankovic, K. M. 1800; 14: 757441


    The fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) is a member of the FGF family which is involved in key biological processes including development, cellular proliferation, wound healing, and angiogenesis. Although the utility of the FGF family as therapeutic agents has attracted attention, and FGF2 has been studied in several clinical contexts, there remains an incomplete understanding of the molecular and clinical function of FGF2 in the auditory system. In this review, we highlight the role of FGF2 in inner ear development and hearing protection and present relevant clinical studies for tympanic membrane (TM) repair. We conclude by discussing the future implications of FGF2 as a potential therapeutic agent.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fnmol.2021.757441

    View details for PubMedID 35002617

  • Direct SARS-CoV-2 infection of the human inner ear may underlie COVID-19-associated audiovestibular dysfunction Communications Medicine Jeong, M. 2021; 1 (1)