Category Archives: Research

Keeping hope alive through innovative research

Because of similarities between cells in the human ear and certain jellyfish cells, researchers are able to conduct experiments without risking the hearing of human subjects.

As research funding continues to be squeezed on the national level, the MEDARVA Foundation’s ambition is to initiate new funding models designed to yield quality research, engage partners and connect venture philanthropy with individuals and organizations.


Researchers find human-like cells in an unlikely source 

Dr. Barry Strasnick, M. D., both a professor and chair of Otology/Neurotology at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Dr. Strasnick is a leading researcher examining the effects of gentamicin, an antibiotic used to treat many types of bacterial infections on human hearing. Jellyfish are being grown in Dr. Strasnick’s laboratory to assist in the research to prevent hearing loss in patients who might greatly benefit from certain antibiotics. Jellyfish possess hair cells, “Since we know the hair cells in the human ear are similar in structure to jellyfish cells and react to gentamicin in potentially similar ways, we can experiment with jellyfish hair cells to see how they react to different levels of the antibiotic, without risking the hearing of human subjects,” Dr. Strasnick says. It is important research that will help scientists find ways to protect the hair cells in ears in the human ear when gentamicin or its relatives are required. In the long run, this research will make sure the treatment benefits the patient without any repercussions.


Fueling life-saving medical research in the face of a challenging economic environment 

research-microscope“Federal government cuts in healthcare research, along with decreasing grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have made catalytic grants from organizations such as the MEDARVA Foundation the only way to continue research and keep hope alive,” states Dr. Richard Constanzo, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Research at VCU Department of Otolaryngology. “Two studies would not have been possible without funding from the MEDARVA Foundation, within the current economic climate, we are grateful for the MEDARVA Foundation’s grant to continue this groundbreaking work.”

Physicians from UVA and researchers have utilized the MEDARVA Foundation’s catalytic research funding to take their research to the next level. Both began separate projects through the MEDARVA Foundation’s donated funds, have now been awarded additional funding by the NIH to further their research. MEDARVA Foundation donated funds.

“The MEDARVA Foundation’s research funding keeps research alive, and is clearly picking up a deficit that is not being picked up today.” ~ Dr. Richard Constanzo, Ph.D