Tejbeer Kaur, PhD
Tejbeer Kaur, PhD

Tejbeer Kaur, PhD

Assistant Professor
School of Medicine

Expertise/Specializations

  • Auditory Neuroscience
  • Hearing and Hearing Loss
  • Neuron Degeneration, Repair and Survival
  • Ototoxicity
  • Inflammation
  • Innate-Immune System
  • Mononuclear Phagocytes
  • Chemokines
  • Microglia
  • Sensory Hair Cell Damage and Loss

Academic Appointments

Department

  • Biomedical Sciences

Position

  • Assistant Professor

Biography

Dr. Kaur is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. She received Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy and Master of Science degree in Pharmacology with merit from the University of Delhi, India. Dr. Kaur received PhD in Pharmacology from Southern Illinois University, Illinois, USA under the mentorship of Drs. Vickram Ramkumar  and Leonard Rybak studying the role and coupling of inflammation and reactive oxygen species in chemotherapeutic cisplatin-induced ototoxicity and hearing loss. This work led to several publications in high impact journals (Kaur et al, Cell Death Disease, Nature publishing group 2011; Kaur et al., The Journal of Neuroscience 2016) for which Dr. Kaur was honored with an award for an Outstanding Scholar in Pharmacology along with other accolades. She continued her research interests of studying the role of inflammation and immune system in hearing and hearing loss as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Mark Warchol at Washington University, St. Louis, and discovered a novel role for macrophages (innate-immune cells) in the survival of auditory neurons during inner ear damage and identified the necessary molecular signaling involved in this process (Kaur et al., The Journal of Neuroscience, 2015). Dr. Kaur received an R03 grant from NIDCD/NIH to understand the role of macrophages during noise-induced cochlear synaptopathy and neuropathy and discovered that macrophages may promote the spontaneous repair of damaged cochlear synapses and ineurion survival following noise trauma (Kaur et al., Journal of Comparative Neurology, 2018; Kaur et al., Frontiers in Neuroscience, 2019). These studies are the first of its kind relevant to the field of auditory neuroscience with high clinical implications. Her main research focus is to determine and understand the biological mechanisms of auditory neuron degeneration, repair and survival with a long-term goal to develop novel and better therapies for hearing loss.

Click here to check our published research work: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/1JEyg1Vzj8Xkj/bibliography/public/

 

Publications and Presentations

Articles

  • Kaur T, Clayman AC, Nash AJ, Schrader AD, Warchol ME, Ohlemiller KK. Lack of Fractalkine Receptor on Macrophages Impairs Spontaneous Recovery of Ribbon Synapses After Moderate Noise Trauma in C57BL/6 Mice.

     , Frontiers in Neuroscience, 13:620, 2019
  • Kaur T, Ohlemiller KK, Warchol ME. Genetic disruption of fractalkine signaling leads to enhanced loss of cochlear afferents following ototoxic or acoustic injury.
     , Journal of Comparative Neurology, 526 (5), 824-835, 2018
  • Ohlemiller KK, Kaur T, Warchol ME, Withnell RH. The endocochlear potential as an indicator of reticular lamina integrity after noise exposure in mice.
    *Selected for Journal Cover Page
     , Hearing Research, 361, 138-151, 2018
  • Kaur T, Borse V, Sheth S, Sheehan K, Ghosh S, Tupal S, Jajoo S, Mukherjea D, Rybak LP, Ramkumar V. Adenosine A1 Receptor Protects Against Cisplatin Ototoxicity by Suppressing the NOX3/STAT1 Inflammatory Pathway in the Cochlea., Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 36 (14), 3962-3977, 2016
  • Kaur T, Zamani D, Tong L, Rubel EW, Ohlemiller KK, Hirose K, Warchol ME. Fractalkine signaling regulates macrophage recruitment into the cochlea and promotes the survival of spiral ganglion neurons after selective hair cell lesion., Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 35 (45), 15050-15061, 2015
  • Tong L, Strong MK, Kaur T, Juiz JM, Oesterle EC, Hume C, Warchol ME, Palmiter RD, Rubel EW.Selective deletion of cochlear hair cells causes rapid age-dependent changes in spiral ganglion and cochlear nucleus neurons., Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 35 (20), 7878-7891, 2015
  • Kaur T, Hirose K, Rubel EW, Warchol ME. Macrophage recruitment and epithelial repair following hair cell injury in the mouse utricle., Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 9:150, 2015

Presentations


  • Mihai Stancu, Ezhilarasan Rajaram, Hilde Wohlfrom, Tejbeer Kaur, Mark Warchol, Edwin W Rubel and Conny Kopp-Scheinpflug. Modulations of neural action potential rates can influence electrical properties of oligodendrocytes and myelination of individual trapezoid body axons. ARO 43rd Midwinter research meeting, January 25-29, 2020, San Jose, California.
     , 2020

  • Anna C. Clayman, Kevin K. Ohlemiller, Mark E. Warchol, Tejbeer Kaur. Lack of Macrophages Impair Spontaneous Repair of Ribbon Synapses After Synaptopathic Acoustic Trauma in C57BL/6 mice.
    ARO 43rd Midwinter research meeting, January 25-29, 2020, San Jose, California.
     , 2020

  • Van A. Redila, Ling Tong, Robin M. Gibson, Tejbeer Kaur, Mark E. Warchol, Edwin W Rubel. Influence of Macrophages and Microglia on Spiral Ganglion and Cochlear Nucleus Neuron Survival Following Selective Hair Cell Death in Mature Mice.
    ARO 43rd Midwinter research meeting, January 25-29, 2020, San Jose, California.
     , 2020

  • Tejbeer Kaur, Anna Clayman, Andrew Nash, Mark E. Warchol and Kevin K. Ohlemiller. Macrophage Regulates Ribbon Synapse Repair and Neuron Survival Via Fractalkine Signaling After Noise-Induced Cochlear Synaptopathy.  Midwest Auditory Research Conference (MARC), July 11-13, 2019, Springfield, Illinois. (*oral presentation)
     , 2019

  • Tejbeer Kaur, Erik Tycksen, Mark E. Warchol, Mike Heinz. Differential Gene Expression in FACS Sorted Mature Cochlear Neurons and Macrophages After Selective Hair Cell Ablation. ARO 42nd Midwinter research meeting, February 9-13, 2019, Baltimore, Maryland.
     , 2019

Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • To understand the biological mechanisms of neuron degeneration and their endogenous repair and survival in the mammalian auditory system with a long-term goal to develop therapies to preserve or restore hearing.

Current Research Projects

  • The mammalian hearing organ, the cochlea, contains sensory epithelium, the organ of Corti that consists of hair cells (sensory receptors) responsible for converting sound into electrical signals that are conveyed to the brain via bipolar afferent spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs). The loss of hair cells or their connections with SGNs (termed “ribbon synapses”) results in sensory neural hearing loss (SNHL). Hair cell or synaptic loss is often followed by gradual degeneration and ultimately death of SGNs. Such pathology occurs after noise overexposure, treatment with certain medications, infection or ageing and is heterogenous in nature. SNHL is often permanent, leading to lifelong challenges in speech recognition and listening in noisy environments. The primary therapies for SNHL are amplification devices, such as hearing aids, and cochlear implants. But the effectiveness of these devices is extremely limited in people whose SNHL is due to deficient or absent auditory nerve innervation and cell bodies. SGNs do not regenerate spontaneously and there are currenlty no FDA approved drugs that promote neuron survival or elicit neuron regeneration or synaptogenesis. The mechanisms of SGN degeneration and loss are poorly understood. Thus, our overarching goal is to determine the biological mechanisms of SGN degeneration, repair and survival to develop better therapies for neuroprotection and regeneration to preserve or restore hearing.
         Inflammation is a hallmark of SNHL. Macrophages (innate-immune cells), the primary responders of inflammation are increased and activated as a result of damage to the cochlea. However, the precise function of inflammation and macrophages in cochlear pathology and hearing loss remains unclear. Our research work has shed light on novel and beneficial roles of macrophages in promoting the long-term survival of auditory neurons and repair of damaged synapses in the injured cochlea (Kaur et al., J Neuroscience, 2015; Kaur et al., J Comparative Neurology, 2018; Kaur et al., Frontiers in Neuroscience, 2019). This research work has also led to the identification of a neuron-immune molecular signaling, fractalkine signaling, that can regulate neuron survival and synaptic repair in damaged cochlea. Fractalkine signaling is a unique neuron-immune-ligand-receptor pair where chemokine fractalkine (CX3CL1) is constitutively expressed on SGNs and binds to its exclusive receptor CX3CR1 expressed by macrophages. Our findings have revealed a critical role for immune system in auditory pathology and suggest that macrophages and fractalkine play a neuroprotective role in the damaged cochlea. A more complete understanding of how macrophages and fractalkine regulate neuron survival and synaptic repair will provide critical information towards developing novel immunotherapies to prevent auditory nerve degeneration or promote nerve regeneration and re-establishment of their synaptic connections and restore hearing.

    Research Techniques
    Mouse genetics, RNA sequencing, confocal imaging of fixed and live tissue, super-resolution imaging, cellular and molecular biology techniques, fluorescent immunohistochemistry, cochlear explant culture, cochlear microdissections, histology, auditory function assessment, flow cytometry, cell sorting, immunophenotyping.
     

Grant Funding Received

  • R03 DC015320 NIH/NIDCD Period: 04/2016 – 07/2019 Role: PI Role of macrophages in noise-induced cochlear synaptopathy and neuropathy Goal: This project characterized cochlear immune response after moderate to loud acoustic exposure and investigated the role of fractalkine receptor (CX3CR1)-deficiency in noise-induced synaptopathy and neuropathy. $152,500

Awards and Honors

  • Guest Editor, Frontiers, 2020
  • Panelist, Molecular Biology of Hearing and Deafness (MBHD), University of Iowa, Iowa, 2021