Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has announced a $15 million gift from trustee David M. Rubenstein in support of its Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.
The gift — Rubenstein's second $15 million gift to the department — will establish the David M. Rubenstein Precision Medicine Center of Excellence and support basic research on the development of therapeutic approaches to the preservation and restoration of hearing. To that end, three project teams, in collaboration with researchers across the university, will explore inner-ear hair cell repair, sensory neuron repair, and nanomedicine drugs and drug delivery. The gift also will support core facilities for those teams — an imaging core designed to provide the access to the best equipment and technologies, expertise, and supplies; a functional core that allows investigators to go beyond conventional audiological metrics and test the quality of restored hearing; and a delivery core that provides genes and compounds for the testing of new therapeutic interventions. The funding also will support an annual conference and a speaker series.
In 2015, Rubenstein provided $15 million to establish an endowment for the department in support of cross-institutional accelerator grants.
"David's support has enabled innovative research projects that leverage the expertise and imagination of scientists, engineers, and clinicians from across Johns Hopkins," said Paul Fuchs, the inaugural David M. Rubenstein Research Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. "This is particularly important as we move from basic discovery of molecular and cellular mechanisms to targeting these for therapeutic benefit. Current efforts employ gene therapy to correct inherited deafness, to regenerate cochlear hair cells, or to enhance protection from acoustic trauma. Other strategies aim to re-establish lost connections from inner ear to brain, a significant contributor to noise-induced and age-related hearing loss."
"It is a privilege to support the talented and committed researchers and doctors of Johns Hopkins who are helping people suffering from hearing loss," said Rubenstein. "I am impressed with the progress made in recent years and hope this new gift will accelerate and deepen those efforts."