UNT Research, Volume 18, 2009 Page: 23
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ERNEST J. MOORE .R. ,
Professor and chair of speech and hearing sciences
Tinnitus is a persistent ringing in the ears that affects IO million Americans, includ- g - :
ing Ernest J. Moore Jr. The noted researcher is working to understand the underlying
biology of this hearing condition, thought to occur when sensory hair cells in the cochlea
malfunction because of heredity and external factors such as excessive noise or drugs.
"It appears the cells attempt to remain viable by changing the sensitivity of the
cochlea or brain to sound input," says Moore, who edited the first textbook on audi-
tory brain-stem evoked responses. "Alterations in these sensory structures, we believe,
result in the perception of tinnitus."
Moore earned his bachelor's degree in speech-language pathology and audiology
from Tennessee State University, his master's in audiology from Northern Illinois
University and his doctorate in communicative disorders with a specialization in
experimental audiology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Joining UNT from Northwestern University, he is
investigating multiple drug treatments and organizing a clinic for those who have tinnitus. This branch of the UNT Speech
and Hearing Clinic, anticipated to open this spring, will focus on treating former soldiers deployed to the Middle East.
Moore and colleagues at Northwestern discovered they could induce tinnitus-like symptoms in zebrafish and admin-
ister drugs to control them.
"We determined that perhaps a specific ion channel or channels (small pores in cells) are responsible for uncon-
trollable firing of nerve impulses," says Moore, who has received more than $490,000 from the National Institutes of
Health, various foundations and now UNT to support his work.
"If we are lucky - and it takes luck and serendipity in science - we hope to have some answers about the funda-
mental nature of ion channels and their role in tinnitus in two to three years."
ALAN N EEDLEMAN
Professor of materials st.
Alan Needleman's fascination with computational modeling and fracture pro-
cesses in materials has led him through a wide range of research, including the mechan-
ical behavior of thin films in micro-electronic devices, the speed of propagation of
cracks in engineering structures and the frictional sliding associated with earthquakes.
"I'm interested in understanding the basic processes and mechanisms of the
mechanical behavior of the materials over a variety of size scales, from the micro scale
to the macro scale," says Needleman, who is a member of the National Academy of
Engineering and was elected last year to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and I
Sciences. A longtime faculty member at Brown University, Needleman has served as a
visiting professor at UNT since 2007 and will join the university full time next fall. \
He says the developing world-class research and educational program in the
College of Engineering drew him to UNT. He will be heavily involved in UNT's new Institute for Science and
Engineering Simulation (see back cover), where a research team will assist the U.S. Air Force in obtaining the knowl-
edge base needed to develop more durable jet engines.
Needleman earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and mas-
ter's and doctoral degrees in engineering from Harvard. He won a Guggenheim Fellowship and was awarded the Prager
Medal by the Society of Engineering Science and the Drucker Medal by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Needleman also will be involved in the university's materials modeling cluster, supported by UNT's Center for
Advanced Scientific Computing and Modeling. This collaboration will develop tools for applications such as reducing
greenhouse gas and discovering new therapies for battlefield injuries.
"I like the people and the atmosphere here. UNT is full of exciting possibilities," Needleman says.
UNT RESEARCH SPRING 2009 23
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University of North Texas. UNT Research, Volume 18, 2009, periodical, 2009; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115032/m1/23/: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting University Relations, Communications & Marketing department for UNT.