A major goal in auditory science is to understand how the cells of the inner ear develop to provide the exquisite precision of hearing. The organ of Corti, which houses the sensory cells of the inner ear, develops from sensory epithelium derived from ectoderm. Together with innervation of the sensory spiral ganglion cells, the auditory system collects sounds and transforms their mechanical forces into an electrical signal that functions throughout our lifetime. At a molecular level, the interactions of DNA, RNA and proteins of the auditory system orchestrate a remarkable feat that is summarized in our ability to hear. The challenge in auditory science is to determine which and how a pathogenic variant in a gene or regulatory element can cause the entire hearing system to fail. Our group is asking the questions: (1) What are the genes that lead to hearing loss and how are they involved in normal function of the inner ear? (2) How does regulation of gene expression govern the pathways that determine inner ear function and how do alterations in regulation, on a genetic and epigenetic level, contribute to the pathology of deafness?