M.D./Ph.D. Candidate Jacob Hehir Seeks Therapy for Tinnitus and Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy
Research Centers On Testing Effects Of Low-Intensity Focused Ultrasound On The Activity Of Cortical Neuron
After growing up in Southern California, M.D./Ph.D. candidate Jacob Hehir went to school at the University of Chicago where he studied neurobiology and music. It was there that he had his first lab experience and gained a love for science.
Jacob was accepted into the SOM at NYMC in 2018 and spent his first summer working at the Westchester Medical Center Balance Center under Katrina Stidham, M.D. He presented his summer research with classmate Nadera Rhaman, M.D. ’22 at the Medical Student Research Forum (MSRF) in February 2020 and won the inaugural Arthur Karmen, M.D. Award.
He loved having the opportunity to run clinical research projects and afterward wanted to grow more as a scientist. With support from his partner, family, peers and mentor, he applied to the M.D./Ph.D. program during his second year.
“I am so grateful to have been accepted, as this program has given me some of the best and most important experiences in my life. Throughout this program, I have grown as a student, as a researcher, and as a person. I have had the privilege to study under Jonathan A. N. Fisher, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology, who has been an incredible source of knowledge, motivation, and wisdom both on and off the bench,” said Mr. Hehir.
Current research is centered on testing the effects of low-intensity focused ultrasound (FUS) on the activity of cortical neurons. The goal is to characterize the neuromodulatory effects of targeted FUS on parts of the mouse Auditory Cortex and contribute towards this technology becoming a therapeutic for conditions such as tinnitus and treatment-resistant epilepsy. He presented this work at the 2022 NYC Neuromodulation Conference and will also be presenting at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Neuroscience 2022 meeting this November. Jacob notes, “One of my favorite parts of studying at NYMC has been the people I meet. When I leave the lab, I can always count on playing pick-up basketball, volleyball, and even disc golf with students at the Touro College of Dental Medicine at NYMC, SOM, and the School of Health Sciences and Practice Department of Physical Therapy. Whether I’m running experiments, playing sports, or even singing in a band made up of students from the music club, those I have met here at NYMC have become incredible friends,” said Mr. Hehir.