The imaging facility is a key technological tool comprising a set of instruments enabling the researchers of the Hearing Institute to study samples at different scales, from whole organs right down to the details of intracellular structures. It also offers help and advice for the acquisition, processing, analysis and interpretation of images.
Thanks to light and electron imaging methods, and with the aid of specific fluorescent markers, researchers can study the morphological and functional differences essential to our understanding of the roles of genes and proteins in hearing impairment.
The auditory phenotyping facility of the Hearing Institute is currently being developed and aims to meet the needs of the research teams’ projects. The equipment it houses makes it possible to characterize the auditory and vestibular profiles of various mouse models. It also makes it possible to evaluate the efficacy of innovative treatments in these models. The development of the auditory phenotyping facility is based essentially on close collaboration with the CERIAH (the Center for Research and Innovation in Human Audiology), which designs and performs research protocols involving human subjects, to characterize auditory and vestibular functions. This collaboration makes possible the parallel development of protocols for studies in humans and animal models. The continuity of approaches will make it possible to obtain fully comparable data and to reach transposable conclusions.
The Hearing Institute has a data acquisition and signal processing facility, operating at the interface between research teams and the other platforms of the Institute. Its objective is to create and manage tools providing interfacing and analysis solutions for the extraction of the multidimensional and multimodal data generated by the research projects performed at the Institute. This facility is currently under construction. It aims to maintain expertise in technical implementation, and in the analysis of imaging, electrophysiological and behavioral experiments.
The cell culture platform of the Hearing Institute currently consists of two BSL2 laboratories, with the planned addition of a third BSL2 laboratory by the second quarter of 2022. These laboratories are equipped to allow researchers from the Hearing Institute to manipulate tissues of animal or human origin and viruses. This platform provides the following equipment:
Microbiology safety stations
High-capacity refrigerated centrifuges
A fluorescence microscope with an incubation chamber
and all the materials classically required for cell culture, together with routinely used consumables.
The installations of the electrophysiology platform of the Hearing Institute are designed for characterization of the physiology and functioning of the auditory system of mouse models reproducing the hearing impairments described in patients. This equipment can be used, in particular, for extracellular recordings of neuronal activity, the characterization of electrical currents carried by ion channels (patch-clamp experiments) and for testing synaptic exocytosis in these models.