erg David Jung.JPG

Jung received his medical degree and his doctorate in genetics from Harvard Medical School, where he is now an assistant professor of otolaryngology. He is also an attending surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Jung’s 2018 Emerging Research Grant is generously supported by Hearing Health Foundation donors who designated their gifts to fund tinnitus research.

Inner ear sensory hair cells detect sound vibrations and pass them to inner ear neurons (nerve cells), which send these signals to the brain. The synaptic connections between hair cells and neurons can be lost due to noise exposure, aging, or both. Recently, it’s been shown that the loss of these synaptic connections results in “hidden” hearing loss and may also be associated with tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hyperacusis (loudness intolerance).

To reestablish lost synaptic connections, we have developed a novel way to anchor special molecules that promote synaptic regeneration into the bone of the inner ear, in order to maximize the stimulation of inner ear neurons. In addition to new therapies for hearing loss, tinnitus, and hyperacusis, a parallel goal is to better understand how hearing loss occurs and to identify ways to prevent it.

The patients I meet in the clinic remind me of the need for hearing restoration therapies. This is what fuels my research, every day. In addition, I’ve had loud tinnitus in both ears with an unknown cause for as long as I can remember. While it’s not terribly bothersome, I have a personal stake in moving this research forward. I hope to continue caring for patients and working toward novel therapies for hearing loss and other hearing disorders.

I played violin for many years through college and grew up with classical music. In my spare time I enjoy attending concerts, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The arts scene here in Boston spoils us, with the BSO one of its crown jewels.

My father is also a surgeon-scientist, and one of my earliest memories is tagging along with him on weekends when he was checking in on his chinchillas in the University of Minnesota animal facility. At the time, he was doing research on inflammatory molecules and their effect on the inner ear and hearing, and he still does research and runs a busy surgical practice. The chocolate milk he bought on these trips probably also helped stimulate my early interest in science.

David Jung, M.D., Ph.D.’s grant is generously supported by Hearing Health Foundation donors who designated their gifts to fund tinnitus research.

Click to download a PDF of Dr. Jung's Meet the Researcher profile.