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 September 19, 2007

U.S. Navy Awards Grant to Study Neural Effects of Underwater Sound to John Olschowka, Ph.D. and Diane Dalecki, Ph.D.

John Olschowka (PI, Dept. of Neurobiology & Anatomy) and Diane Dalecki (co-I) received a two-year grant from the U.S. Navy titled Neural Effects of Underwater Sound. Underwater sound fields are used for numerous commercial and military applications, including imaging, oil exploration, mapping the ocean, and harbor surveillance. Sponsored by the U.S. Navy, Drs. Olschowka and Dalecki have embarked on a new collaborative project that will investigate the interactions of continuous and impulsive underwater sound fields with the brain and spinal cord. The Olschowka lab, in the UR Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, has long-standing expertise in examining injury to neural tissues, including trauma, using molecular, protein, and immunohistochemical techniques. Using the acoustic sources and technical expertise of the Dalecki lab, the team will investigate neural bioeffects of sound fields at frequencies ranging from 500 Hz-30 kHz. To also study the effects of acoustic impulses, the facilities and expertise available at Hydroacoustic, Inc. will be employed to generate underwater impulsive sound fields using an air gun system. Neural tissues of animals exposed to these continuous and impulsive underwater sound fields will be assessed for vascular damage, axonal injury, and glial activation. Results of this project will help to establish safe exposure guidelines for human divers and marine life exposed to underwater sound fields.