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Ronna P. Hertzano

Ronna P. Hertzano M.D., Ph.D.

Academic Title: Associate Professor
Primary Appointment: Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
Secondary Appointments: Anatomy and Neurobiology
Location: Frenkil building, 16 S Eutaw St., Suite 500
Phone: 410-328-1892
Phone: 410-706-6161
Fax: 410-328-5827
Lab: 410-706-6161

Personal History:

Dr. Hertzano is an assistant professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Hertzano received her medical and Ph.D. degrees from Tel Aviv University, where she studied the molecular basis of hearing impairment and was the recipient of a Foulkes Foundation Fellowship physician-scientist award. She completed her internship and residency in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. During residency training she established a collaborative research group named the Laboratory of Inner Ear Developmental Genetics (LIEDG, see below). The focus of Dr. Hertzano’s basic science research is on understanding the molecular mechanisms leading to inner ear development as well as acquired hearing loss, using genomic, cell type-specific approaches. In 2014 Dr. Hertzano was the recipient of the National Organization of Hearing Research Burt Evans Young Investigator Award, for dedicated commitment and excellence in the pursuit of auditory neuroscience. Dr. Hertzano is a surgeon-scientist and her clinical practice is focused on diseases of the ear and lateral skull base, with a particular interest in hearing restoration and genetic hearing loss. As part of her clinical practice, she is developing a comprehensive interdisciplinary genetic hearing loss service at the University of Maryland. Dr. Hertzano has a specific interest in mentoring both graduate and medical students.

Research Interests:

Dr. Hertzano’s research interests are focused on revealing the cell type-specific genetic and genomic regulatory pathways which control inner ear development and its molecular signaling cascades in health and disease. This knowledge is essential not only for the identification of new deafness genes, but can be applied to drive stem cells into desired cell fates for therapeutics.

  • Cell Type-Specific Transcriptional Cascades in Inner Ear Development: one of the missions of the LIEDG is to reveal cell type-specific genetic and genomic regulatory pathways which control inner ear development. To accomplish these goals the team successfully developed and validated protocols for cell type-specific analysis of the ear using fluorescent activated cell sorting, and continues to develop these protocols to extend them to additional cell types and species. For example, using this approach we identified Zeb1 and miR200b as key regulators of epithelial-mesenchymal fate in the mouse inner ear (Hertzano et al. 2011, Kurima et al. 2011), and deciphered the mechanism of a mutation in the Zeb1 gene in the Twirler mutant mouse. Current projects focus on hair cell-specific regulatory pathways important for terminal differentiation and deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying deafness as a result of mutations in hair cell-expressed transcription factors and miRNAs.

  • Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Acquired Hearing Loss: while congenital hearing loss affects 1 in 1000 newborns, age related hearing loss afflicts that majority of the elderly population and noise induced hearing loss affects 5% of the population world-wide and is a major problem for veterans. In this project the LIEDG is taking a cell type-specific approach to interrogate the translatomes of adult inner ears as they are exposed to noise with and without treatment. Using advanced bioinformatic approaches our goal is to decipher the mechanisms underlying acquired hearing loss to develop targeted therapeutics.

Clinical Speciality:

Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Otology and Neurotology

Lab Techniques and Equipment:

  • Molecular biology - gene expression analysis, cloning, regulation of gene expression
  • Tissue culture - cell lines, primary explant cultures
  • Immunohistochemistry Flow cytometry Biochemistry - Western blot, Chromatin IP

Grants & Contracts:

R01DC003544 (PI: Smith, Co-I: Hertzano)
“Autosomal Dominant Non-Syndromic Hearing Loss”

G65_Bowl (PI: Bowl, Co-I: Hertzano)
“Molecular and physiological basis of progressive hearing loss in ‘cello’ mutant mice”

DOD, MR130240 (PI: Hertzano)
“Towards a Molecular Understanding of Noise Induced Hearing Loss”


Peer-reviewed journal articles

  1. Walsh T, Walsh V, Vreugde S, Hertzano R, Shahin H, Haika S, Lee MK, Kanaan M, King MC, Avraham KB. (2002) From flies' eyes to our ears: mutations in a human class III myosin cause progressive nonsyndromic hearing loss DFNB30. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 99:7518-7523.
  2. Donaudy F, Ferrara A, Esposito L, Hertzano R, Ben-David O, Bell RE, Melchionda S, Zelante L, Avraham KB, Gasparini P. (2003) Multiple mutations of MYO1A, a cochlear-expressed gene in sensorineural hearing loss. Am J Hum Genet. 72:1571-7. 
  3. Rhodes CR*, Hertzano R*, Fuchs H, Bell RE, Hrabé de Angelis M, Steel KP, Avraham KB. (2004) A Myo7a mutation co-segregates with stereocilia defects and low frequency hearing impairment. Mamm Genome. 15:686-97.
  4. Hertzano R, Montcouquiol M, Rashi-Elkeles S, Elkon R, Yücel R, Frankel WN, Rechavi G, Möröy T, Friedman TB, Kelley MW and Avraham KB. (2004) Transcription profiling of inner ears from Pou4f3ddl/ddl identifies Gfi1 as a target of the Pou4f3 deafness gene.  Hum Molec Genet. 13:2143-53. –Article featured on journal cover
  5. Clough RL, Sud R, Davis-Silberman N, Hertzano R, Avraham KB, Holley M, Dawson SJ. (2004) Brn-3c (POU4F3) regulates BDNF and NT-3 promoter activity. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 5;324:372-81.
  6. Fiolka K, Hertzano R, Zeng H, Hermesh O, Avraham KB, Dührsen U and Möröy T. (2006) Gfi1 and Gfi1b act equivalently in haematopoiesis, but have distinct, non-overlapping functions in inner ear development. EMBO Reports. 7:326-33.
  7. Hertzano R, Dror AA, Montcouquiol M, Ahmed Z, Ellsworth B, Camper S, Friedman TB, Kelley MW and Avraham KB. (2007) Lhx3, a LIM domain transcription factor, is regulated by Pou4f3 in the auditory, but not in the vestibular system. Eur J Neurosci. 25:999-1005. –Article featured on journal cover
  8. Hertzano R*, Shalit E*, Rzadzinska AK*, Dror AA, Song L, Ron U, Tan JT, Starovolsky Shitrit A, Fuchs A, Hasson T, Ben-Tal N, Sweeney HL, Hrabe de Angelis M, Steel KP and Avraham KB. (2008) A Myo6 mutation destroys coordination between the myosin heads, revealing new functions of myosin VI in the stereocilia of mammalian inner ear hair cells. PLOS Genetics. Oct 3;4(10):e1000207.
  9. Zhang X, Voskens CJ, Sallin M, Maniar A, Montes CL, Zhang Y, Lin W, Li G, Burch E, Tan M, Hertzano R, Chapoval A, Tamada K, Gastman B, Schulze DH, Strome SE. (2009) CD137 promotes proliferation and survival of human B cells. J Immunol. 184:787-95.
  10. Hertzano R, Puligilla C, Chan SL, Timothy C, Depireux DA, Ahmed Z, Wolf J, Eisenman DJ, Friedman TB, Riazuddin S, Kelley MW and Strome SE. (2010) CD44 is a marker for the outer pillar cell in the early post-natal mouse inner ear. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol  11:407-18. Article featured on journal cover
  11. Hertzano R, Eisenman DJ. (2010) Stapes bar. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Jul;143:163-4.
  12. Hertzano R, Eisenman DJ. (2010) Large, symptomatic tension pneumocele: 23 years after translabyrinthine resection of an acoustic neuroma. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 144:477-478.
  13. Elkan-Miller T, Ulitsky I, Hertzano R, Rudnicki A, Dror A, Lenz DR, Elkon R, Irmler M, Beckers J, Shamir R and Avraham KB. (2011) Integration of proteomics, transcriptomics and microRNA analyses reveals novel microRNA regulation of targets in the mammalian inner ear. PLoS ONE. 5;6(4):e18195.
  14. Hertzano R, Elkon R, Kurima K, Morrisson A, Chan SL, Sallin M, Biedlingmaier A, Darling DS, Griffith AJ, Eisenman DJ and Strome SE. (2011) Cell type-specific transcriptome analysis reveals a major role for Zeb1 and miR-200b in mouse inner ear morphogenesis. PLoS Genetics. 2011 Sep;7(9):e1002309.
  15. Kurima K, Hertzano R, Gavrilova O, Monahan K, Shpargel KB, Nadaraja G, Kawashima Y, Lee KY, Ito T, Higashi Y, Eisenman DJ, Strome SE and Griffith AJ. (2011) A Noncoding Point Mutation of Zeb1 Causes Multiple Developmental Malformations and Obesity in Twirler mice. PLoS Genetics. 2011 Sep;7(9):e1002307.
  16. Voskens CJ, Sewell D, Hertzano R, Desanto J, Rollins S, Lee M, Taylor R, Wolf J, Suntharalingam M, Gastman B, Papadimitriou JC, Lu C, Tan M, Morales R, Cullen K, Celis E, Mann D and Strome SE. (2012) Induction of mage-A3 and HPV-16 immunity by Trojan vaccines in patients with head and neck carcinoma. Head Neck. 2012 Dec;34(12):1734-46.
  17. Hertzano R and Elkon R. (2012) High throughput gene expression analysis of the inner ear. Hearing Research, Jun;288(1-2):77-88
  18. Harvey RS, Hertzano R, Kelman SE and Eisenman DJ. (2014) Pulse-Synchronous Tinnitus and Sigmoid Sinus Wall Anomalies: Descriptive Epidemiology and the Idiopathic Intracranial  Hypertension Patient Population. Otology and Neurotology. Jan;35(1):7-15.

* These authors contributed equally to the study.

Peer reviewed book reviews

  1. Hertzano R. (2011) Temporal bone dissection guide book review. Otol Neurotol, Sep.

Book Chapters

  1. Hertzano R and Avraham KB. (2003) Involvement of the POU-Domain transcription factors in human hereditary deafness. In: Willems P (ed) In: Genetic Hearing Loss. Marcel Dekker, NY.
  2. Hertzano R and Avraham KB. Developmental genes associated with human hearing loss. In: Kelley M, Wu D, Popper AN, Fay RR (eds). (2005) In: Embryology and Development of the Ear. Springer Verlag, NY.
  3. Eisenman DJ and Hertzano R. (2012) Bilateral Vestibular Weakness. Encyclopedia of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. In Press
  4. Hertzano R and Eisenman DJ. (2012) Complications of Otitis Media. Encyclopedia of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. In Press