Peter Steyger, Ph.D., developed bacterial meningitis when he was just 14 months old.
Steyger, about 50 years later, and having obtained a Ph.D. in neuroscience and numerous publications on ototoxicity and cochlear anatomy, has devoted his life to ensure other children are not presented with the same fate. Steyger intends to formally join Creighton University (in May) as the director of School of Medicine’s Translational Hearing Center.
“The vision here at Creighton to do the pre-clinical, otoprotective work and the collaborative environment here is absolutely phenomenal and central to translational medicine,” stated Steyger.
“I’ve worked with some wonderful, brilliant researchers on very difficult problems, yet we were all in our own zone. What Creighton has done across disciplines and in partnering with other institutions gives us the opportunity to learn and discover alongside one another and translate those discoveries to prevent hearing loss or restore hearing to a lot of people.”
“We can move with more velocity,” Steygertold. “Creighton has a long history in auditory research, as does Boys Town. The kinds of credentials these researchers have and their willingness to work collaboratively was a major reason I came to Creighton.”
Steyger will bring to alongside him, a major National Institutes of Health award to come and a $3.5-million award on the way thanks to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
“There are some very promising pathways that Dr. Steyger has identified, and some compounds that we’ve identified. The great thing is that our vision, our goals, are identical in this: to develop the first drug that could prevent this kind of hearing loss in children,” told Zuo.
“Many in my age-bracket are now experiencing age-related hearing loss,” says Steyger. “I’m going the other way. The technology is really amazing in rehabilitating hearing loss. But what would be even better is if we could prevent hearing loss in the first place and give everyone that natural ability to hear.”
“I’m very passionate about this, and it keeps me motivated when setbacks occur. It’s a way to pay forward the support I have received in the past. Hearing is vital to communication. Perceiving sound is integral to music, listening to stories, theater. That all contributes to the richness of human experience,” Steyger concluded.