Department of Neurobiology and the College
Ruth Anne Eatock studies the biophysical mechanisms underlying sensory analysis in several model inner ear organs, including lizard auditory organs and the saccule, or vibration sensor, in the frog. Currently her lab is focused on the linear accelerometers (utricles and saccules) of rodents. These organs are relatively simple structures with sharply delineated zones that transduce head-motion stimuli in different ways. They also feature strikingly different types of synapse between hair cells and primary afferent neurons. Recording electrical signals from different zones and synapses reveal how transducer adaptation, synaptic mechanisms, and ion channel expression shape the sensory information required for stable gaze and orientation as one moves through the world.
Recent co-authored publications include “Tuning and Timing in Mammalian Type I Hair Cells and Calyceal Synapses” (Journal of Neuroscience) and “Vestibular Hair Cells and Afferents: Two Channels for Head Motion Signals” (Annual Review of Neuroscience).
Eatock trained in sensory neurobiology at McGill University (MSc), the California Institute of Technology (PhD), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (postdoctoral fellowship). Previously she held faculty positions at the University of Rochester, Baylor College of Medicine, and Harvard Medical School/ Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Eatock joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2014.