Brian McDermott, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor
  • Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
  • Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine





Molecular Virology - Columbia University


Brian McDermott is an Assistant Professor in the department of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery. Dr. McDermott attended graduate school at Columbia University in New York where he studied molecular virology in the laboratory of Dr. Vincent Racaniello. He initiated his studies on the hair cell as a postdoctoral fellow under the guidance of Dr. Jim Hudspeth at the Rockefeller University in New York.

His group's goals are to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of hair-cell development and operation and to determine how these mechanisms relate to human hearing and deafness. The hair cell is a mechanoreceptor that is essential not only for hearing but also for balance and for the detection of water movement by aquatic vertebrates. This receptor represents mechanical stimuli as electrical responses that are relayed to the brain Physiologically, hair cells are very well understood and much is known about how they function in hearing. However, to understand the molecular basis of hearing, the genes expressed in the hair cell must be identified and their role in hearing evaluated. His team has developed a functional genomics approach involving the zebrafish ( Danio rerio ) model system that entails identification of hair cell-specific genes using DNA oligonucleotide microarrays followed by removal of these gene products in vivo with antisense technology. His group is primarily interested in how some of these genes relate to three aspects of the hair cell: hair-bundle morphogenesis and operation, hair-cell innervation, and ribbon synapse formation and function. In addition to zebrafish genetics, the McDermott group integrates imaging, physiological, transgenic, and behavioral approaches to study hair-cell development and operation.




Li X, McDermott B , Yuan B, Goff SP. Homomeric interactions between transmembrane proteins of Moloney murine leukemia virus. J Virol. 1996 Feb; 70(2): 1266-70

Belnap DM, McDermott BM Jr. , Filman DJ, Cheng N, Trus BL, Zuccola HJ, Racaniello VR, Hogle JM, Steven AC. Three-dimensional structure of poliovirus receptor bound to poliovirus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Jan 4; 97(1): 73-8

Bouchard MJ, Dong Y, McDermott BM Jr. , Lam DH, Brown KR, Shelanski M, Bellve AR, Racaniello VR. Defects in nuclear and cytoskeletal morphology and mitochondrial localization in spermatozoa of mice lacking nectin-2, a component of cell-cell adherens junctions. Mol Cell Biol. 2000 Apr; 20(8): 2865-73

McDermott BM Jr. , Rux AH, Eisenberg RJ, Cohen GH, Racaniello VR. Two distinct binding affinities of poliovirus for its cellular receptor. J Biol Chem. 2000 Jul 28; 275(30): 23089-96

Tsang SK , McDermott BM Jr., Racaniello VR, Hogle JM. A Kinetic Analysis of the Effect of Poliovirus Receptor on Viral Uncoating: The Receptor as a Catalyst. J Virol. 2001 Jun; 75(11): 4984-9

Baury B, Masson B, McDermott BM Jr., Jarry A, Blottière H, Laboisse C, Lustenberger P, Racaniello VR and Denis MG. Identification of Secreted CD155 isoforms. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Sep 12; 309(1): 175-82.

McDermott BM Jr., Baucom J, Hudspeth AJ. Proc, Natl, Acad, Sci U S A. Analysis and Functional Evaluation of the Hair-Cell Transcriptome. 2007 Jul 10;104(28):11820-5.

McDermott BM Jr., Jani SD, McClintock J, Baucom J, Hudspeth AJ. Transgenic zebrafish that express green fluorescent proteins in hair cells, support cells, and neurons of the acousticolateralis system. Manuscript in preparation.