Inner ear histopathologies, molecular biology of hearing, genetics of hearing loss, neurotrophic factors (cochlea, hearing loss, deafness)
After graduating with magna cum lauda in cellular neurobiology, Dr Tan took up a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Bionic Ear Institute in Aug 2004, funded by the National Institutes of Health, USA, awarded to Professor Robert K Shepherd. His first post-doctoral publication showed how a group of surface receptors – TrkB and p75 neurotrophin receptors - are regulated by sensorineural hearing loss. This work was published in 2006 in the American Journal of Pathology, ranked top journal in Pathology at that time. Dr Tan was both the first and corresponding author.
He was sought by geneticists, Professor Hamish S Scott and Dr Michel Guipponi, working then at the Walter Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, to characterise deafness in mice deficient in tmprss1, a Type 2 transmembrane serine protease gene. Characterisation of tmprss1-/- mice was subsequently published in the American Journal of Pathology where Dr Tan shared equal first authorship with Dr Michel Guipponi whereas the expression of the various tmprss genes was published in Human Mutations where Dr Tan was a co-author.
Dr Sandra Widjaja, a Swiss-trained medical doctor, began an academic exchange programme with us in 2006 to evaluate the effectiveness of the first totally implantable cochlear implant in rats. Dr Tan worked closely with her to describe how cochlear implants up-regulated the expression of plasticity-related genes and voltage-gated sodium channels in the deafened auditory cortex. This work was published in 2008 in Cerebral Cortex, a well-regarded journal in neuroscience.
In 2007, he was awarded a project grant of $269,853 from the Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation. He investigated the role of p75 neurotrophin receptor in hearing and using p75-/- mutant mice, he demonstrated that the up-regulation of this receptor in the cochlea after noise trauma is a compensatory, survival response. This work won prizes in confere
Royal National Institute for Deaf People Flexi Grant 2009 $10,000
Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation Project Grant 2007 $269,853
Perpetual Trustees 2007 $30,535
Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital 2007 $15,000
Medical Research and Technology in Victoria 2006 $9,900
Marion and EH Flack Trust 2005 $27,400
Medical Research and Technology in Victoria 2005 $10,000
Education and training
Universitaet Tuebingen 2004
Universitaet Tuebingen 2001
Awards and honors
Best Poster; demonstrates a protective role of p75 neurotrophin receptor in trauma-induced hearing loss, Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation,
2nd Prize Moderated Poster; demonstrates a protective role of p75 neurotrophin receptor in trauma-induced hearing loss, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne,
Travel fellowship, supporting my conference travel to ARO mid-winter meeting in Phoenix, USA, Harold Mitchell Foundation,