Director of Research
Dr. Kumar Alagramam earned his Masters in Biotechnology and Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville . He received postdoctoral training at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Case Western Reserve University.
The long-term goal of the lab is to understand the genetic program associated with hair cell development and function in the inner ear. Dr. Alagramam has 18 years' experience in mouse genetics and molecular biology. He has considerable experience with mouse and guinea pig models of hearing loss, especially with the mouse model for deafness in Ushers. His work led to the discovery of protocadherin 15 (Pcdh15) and its association with deafness in mice and humans in 2001. From 2002-06, he reported on the identification of mouse mutants carrying different alleles of Pcdh15, and the detailed analysis of hair cells from these alleles demonstrated that mutation in Pcdh15 affects hair bundle morphology and polarity. The current focus of Dr. Alagramam's lab is to understand the precise role of Pcdh15 in hair bundle morphogenesis and mechanotransduction.
More recently (2007-present), he also focused on a mouse model for deafness in Usher 3A, which is caused by a mutation in the human clarin-1 gene. Dr. Alagramam's lab was the first to characterize a mouse model for inner ear dysfunction in Usher 3A that showed how mutation in clarin-1 affects hair cell morphology and function. However, the function of clarin-1, a four-transmembrane protein, in hair cells is unknown.
2003-Present: Director of Research, Otolaryngology
2003-Present: Co-founder and organizer “The Mouse as Instrument of Ear Research” workshop at the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME
2008-Present: The Maniglia Endowed Chair for Research and Education, Otolaryngology
June 2011: Awarded Tenure
July 2011-June 2015: Permanent member of the Auditory Study Section, NIDCD
Melki SJ, Yiping L, Semaan MT, Zheng, QY, Megerian CA, Alagramam KN. A mouse model validates the utility of electrocochleography in verifying endolymphatic hydrops. JARO (in press, January 2014)
Antonellis PJ, Pollock LM, Chou SW, Hassan A, Geng R, Chen X, Fuchs E, Alagramam KN, Auer M, McDermott BM Jr. ACF7 Is a Hair-Bundle Antecedent, Positioned to Integrate Cuticular Plate Actin and Somatic Tubulin. J Neurosci. 2014 Jan 1;34(1):305-12, 2014.
Au A, Stuyt JG, Chen D, Alagramam KN. Ups and downs of viagra: revisiting ototoxicity in the mouse model. PLoS One. Nov 14;8(11):e79226. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079226, 2013.