Hainan Lang is an associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Her dual training as an otolaryngologist and hearing research scientist affords her a background in both clinical otology and auditory neuroscience.
Lang has been engaged in hearing research involving cellular and molecular biology, and electrophysiology, of the peripheral auditory system for over 25 years. Her early research training involved retrovirus-mediated lineage analysis of sensory hair cells and other cochlear cell types, along with investigating temporal-spatial patterns of cell proliferation and cell death in the developing cochlea. She has extensive research experience in auditory electrophysiology, otopathology and molecular biology of hearing loss as a result of increased aging, as well as exposure to noise or ototoxic drugs.
Research in her laboratory at MUSC has focused on the pathophysiological alterations of the peripheral auditory nerve and cochlear lateral wall using several mouse models of sensorineural hearing loss and postmortem human temporal bones. In a series of recent studies, her laboratory has demonstrated that (1) plasticity of adult hematopoietic stem cells is present in the auditory nerve following cochlear injury; (2) adult cochlear glial cells retain neural progenitor cell properties and are able to change their cellular phenotype in response to acute cochlear injury; (3) glial cell dysfunction and demyelination are important components of cochlear pathophysiological alterations in several forms of sensorineural hearing loss; and (4) the innate immune system and cochlear macrophages play a critical role in the formation and refinement of auditory neural circuitry during postnatal development and in the pathophysiological alterations of sensorineural hearing loss.