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Dr Daniel Brown

  • Neurodegenerative disorders

Daniel collaborates with researchers in CHIRI’s Biotechnology and Drug Development Research Laboratory to improve the effectiveness of corticosteroid therapies for inner ear inflammation.

While corticosteroids are used to treat a range of inner ear disorders, they do not penetrate deeply into the inner ear, which limits their effectiveness. Daniel and the team are using cutting-edge research technologies to develop a new drug delivery system, involving bile-acid nanoencapsulated steroids, to more effectively treat inflammation and fluid-related disorders in the inner ear. These disorders include autoimmune inner ear disorder, Meniere’s disease, cochlear implantation (deafness), and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

With hearing and balance disorders highly prominent in ageing populations, Daniel’s research is of relevance to CHIRI’s work to find new preventions and treatments with age-associated diseases. The typical age of onset for most of the disorders Daniel studies occur in the fifth decade of life, and hearing and balance disorders are increasingly recognised as strong risk factors for several other age-related disorders, such as dementia, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

Daniel joined Curtin University in 2019 as the Course Coordinator for Pre-Clinical Human Biology and the Discipline Lead within the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. He had previously achieved his PhD with distinction from the University of WA in 2007, then spent two years abroad as a visiting post-doc at Washington University in Saint Louis in the USA. Daniel returned to Australia to set up his own hearing and balance laboratory within the Brain and Mind Centre at Sydney University and in 2016 was awarded a five-year Senior Researcher Fellowship from Garnett Passe & Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation.

Daniel’s achievements include developing the first ever ‘Light Sheet Fluorescence Microscope’ in Australia, then using it to discover the cause of vertigo attacks in Meniere’s disease – the findings debunked commonly-held beliefs of his field of research at the time.

Daniel also developed a non-invasive, differential diagnostic test for an inner ear disorder called endolymphatic hydrops using low-level sounds omitted by the cochlear called otoacoustic emissions.

Daniel’s current research is supported with funding from Cures Within Reach and the Garnett Passe & Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation.

Research interests – Hearing and balance research; 3D microscopy methods; biological amplifier design; and extracellular response recordings, including evoked potentials.

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