National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR)
Robert D. Frisina, Ph.D.
Dr. Robert D. Frisina received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering and Neuroscience from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering in 1983. He pursued postdoctoral research as an NIH Fellow in Sensory Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Rochester Medical School. He is currently Professor and BME Director in the Chemical & Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Florida’s College of Engineering. Previously, he was Professor of Otolaryngology, Neurobiology & Anatomy, and Biomedical Engineering, and Associate Chair of Otolaryngology at the University of Rochester Medical School for the past 2 decades. He also holds joint appointments as Professor at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, one of two colleges for the Deaf in the world, and at the University of Buffalo. Dr. Frisina’s main research support is currently a Program Project Grant from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes for Health - NIH, entitled “The Aging Auditory System: Presbycusis and Its Neural Bases”, currently in Year 16 of 20. Research program goals include developing therapeutic interventions for deafness and age-related hearing and balance problems using biomedical engineering and gene therapy techniques. A systems analysis approach is taken to understanding neurophysiological processing at different levels of the auditory system, from the cochlea (auditory portion of the inner ear) to the brain (central auditory system). For example, sensory processing problems occur in both the inner ear and the parts of the brain used for hearing in cases of age-related hearing loss. Major themes of these lines of neuroengineering research are aimed at developing novel therapies for preventing, delaying or treating cases of environmentally or hormone-induced hearing loss, age-related hearing deficits and congenital deafness and balance problems.