Macro and micro mechanical motion in the living mammalian cochlea

Nigel Cooper, University College London, London, UK

Friday, April 8, 2022
1:30 p.m.

Hopeman 224

Basilar membrane (BM) vibrations introduce tonotopy, level dependent tuning, and frequency dependent nonlinearities into a signal processing scheme that is fundamental to mammalian hearing. How these vibrations gain such characteristics remains a mystery - after all, the BM is just a collagenous ribbon suspended in the fluid filled chambers of the inner ear. Recent applications of new measurement techniques, including spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), are starting to reveal how the hidden mechanics of the organ of Corti might ‘control’ the BM’s motion, and/or couple it to other important structures. This talk will summarise some recent findings made using the OCT technique, focusing on both the "macromechanics" and "micromechanics" of the system.