Colleen Le Prell, Ph.D.
Dr. Colleen Le Prell is an Associate Professor and Interim Chair for the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the University of Florida (UF); she has served as Director of the Hearing Research Center at UF since 2007. She received her doctorate in Psychology (Biospsychology area) from the University of Michigan in 1998, followed by post-doctoral studies at the Kresge Hearing Research Institute (1998-2001).
Current research programs in her laboratory at the University of Florida include a multi-faceted approach to hearing conservation. This work emphasizes basic scientific investigation of the mechanisms of cell death after a variety of insults to the inner ear, including noise, aging, ototoxic drug treatments, and combinations of insults such as noise exposure followed by aging. The goal of these studies is to identify agents that prevent cell death and the corresponding acquired hearing loss in animal models, and then translate these agents into human clinical trials. We have engaged in collaborative programs with the University of Michigan and multiple other US and international colleagues as well as industry partners to translate potential therapies from animal models to human trials. Other projects in her laboratory have investigated the accuracy of sound level meter apps for use assessing noise risk, the accuracy of on-line and app-based audiometer tools, listening levels that students select on their MP3 players as a function of gender and background noise in the listening location, and, most recently, the potential utility of suppressor devices for reducing the noise risk associated with weapon discharge. These studies have been funded by the NIH, the DoD, foundations, and industry sources.
Dr. Le Prell has been invited to present her research findings nationally and internationally, and she has lectured on the challenges of translational research in Otolaryngology, including a short course delivered to the Association for Research in Otolaryngology in 2007 and a workshop delivered at the EuroHear Theoretical Training Course on Inner Ear Therapy in 2009. She is an active contributor to the DoD Hearing Center of Excellence Pharmaceutical Interventions to Prevent Hearing Loss working group, and recently co-authored three white papers on different topics related to this effort. She was the lead editor on the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research edition titled, “Noise-induced Hearing Loss: Scientific Advances,” and was on the editorial team for the currently in press text, “Free Radicals in ENT Pathology: Oxidative Stress in Applied Basic Research and Clinical Practice.” She is the former Director of Education for the National Hearing Conservation Association (2012-2014).
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