David Z.Z.He
Professor of Neuroscience

Creighton University


1978-1983 M.D

College of Medicine, China Southeast University, Nanjing, P.R. China


Ph.D Shanghai Institute of Physiology (now known as the Institute of Neuroscience) Chinese Academy of Sciences


Post-doctoral fellow Auditory Physiology Laboratory (the Hugh Knowles Center) Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, Northwestern University



David Z. He graduated from Nanjing Railway Medical College (now Medical School of Southeast University) with medical degree in 1983.  He studied with Dr. Zhi-An Liang at the Shanghai Institute of Physiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and received his PhD in Physiology in 1990.  His postdoctoral training in the area of neuroscience was with Dr. Peter Dallos at Northwestern University.  Currently, he is a (full) professor at Creighton University School of Medicine and director of Béllucci Hearing Research Groups (Center).  Over the past 24 years, Dr. He has published his studies on prestin, mechanotransduction, and hair cell development and repair in the prestigious journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Neuroscience, and PNAS.  He was a regular member of NIH AUD Study Section between 2006 and 2010.  He reviews manuscripts for Nature Neuroscience, Nature Review Neuroscience, Neuron, PNAS,and the Journal of Neuroscience.  He has been invited to give numerous seminars at Institutions in the US, Europe, Japan and China. He has received several awards, including the Sandy and David Marshall Award for Excellence in Auditory Science from American Hearing Research Foundation and Distinguished Research Career Award from Creighton University School of Medicine.


Research Interest

  • Neurobiology of cochlear hair cells
  • Hearing loss
  • Otology


Professional Activities:

1983-1985 Lab Instructor Department of Physiology, Southeast University School of Medicine, Nanjing, P. R. China
1990-1991 Lecturer Department of Physiology, Southeast University School of Medicine
1992-1996 Research Associate Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
1996-1999 Senior Research Associate Department of Neurobiology and Physiology Northwestern University
1999-2000 Research Assistant Professor Department of Neurobiology and Physiology Northwestern University
2000-2002 Assistant Professor Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska
2000-2002 Assistant Professor Creighton University School of Medicine
2002-2003 Associate Professor Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska
2003-2007 Associate Professor Dept. of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska
2007- Professor Dept. of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska
2008- Director Bellucci Hearing Research Groups, Creighton University


Honors and Awards




  1. He DZ, Evans BN & Dallos P (1994). First appearance and development of electromotility in neonatal gerbil outer hair cells. Hear Res 78: 77-90.
  2. Sziklai I, He DZ & Dallos P (1996). Effect of acetylcholine and GABA on the transfer function of electromotility in isolated outer hair cell. Hear Res 95: 87-99.
  3. Liu TC, He DZ & Lin X (1997). A novel, simple organotypic culture method to study the organ of Corti from the neonatal gerbil. ORL 59: 243-247.
  4. Dallos P, He DZ, Lin X, Sziklai I, Mehta S & Evans BN (1997). Effects of acetylcholine on outer hair cell electromotility. J Neurosci 17: 2212-2226.
  5. He DZ & Dallos P (1997). Expression of potassium channels in gerbil outer hair cells during development does not require neural induction. Dev Brain Res 103: 95-98.
  6. He DZ (1997). Relationship between the development of outer hair cell electromotility and efferent innervation: A study in cultured organ of Corti of neonatal gerbils. J Neurosci 17: 3634-3643.
  7. Szönyi M, He DZ, Ribári O, Sziklai I & Dallos P (1999). Cyclic-GMP and outer hair cell electromotility. Hearing Res 137: 29-42.
  8. He DZ & Dallos P (1999). Somatic stiffness of cochlear outer hair cells is voltage-dependent. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96: 8223-8228.
  9. He DZ & Dallos P (1999). Development of acetylcholine-induced responses in neonatal gerbil outer hair cells. J Neurophysiol 81: 1162-1170.
  10. Richter CP, Edge R, He DZ, Long K, Madison LD & Dallos P (2000). Development of the gerbil inner ear observed in the hemicochlea. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 1: 195-210.
  11. Zheng J, Shen WX, He DZ, Long K, Madison LD & Dallos P (2000). Prestin is the motor protein of cochlear outer hair cells. Nature 405: 149-155.
  12. He DZ & Dallos P (2000). Properties of voltage-dependent somatic stiffness of cochlear outer hair cells. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 1: 64-81.
  13. He DZ, Zheng J, Edge R & Dallos P (2000). Isolation of cochlear inner hair cells. Hear Res 145: 156-160.
  14. Szönyi M, He DZ, Ribári O, Sziklai I & Dallos P (2001). Intracellular calcium and outer hair cell electromotility. Brain Res 922: 65-70.
  15. Oliver D, He DZ, Klocker N, Ludwig J, Schulte U, Waldegger S, Ruppersberg JP, Dallos P & Fakler B (2001). Intracellular anions as the voltage sensor of prestin, the outer hair cell motor protein. Science 292: 2340-2343.
  16. He DZ, Zheng J & Dallos P (2001). Development of acetylcholine receptors in cultured outer hair cells. Hear Res 162: 113-125.
  17. Dallos P & He DZ (2001). Models of outer hair cell stiffness and motility. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 1: 283-291.
  18. Liberman MC, Gao J, He DZ, Wu XD, Jia SP & Zuo J (2002). Prestin is required for outer hair cell motility and the cochlear amplifier. Nature 419: 300-304.
  19. Zheng J, He DZ, Long K, Madison LD & Dallos P (2002). Identification of differentially expressed cDNA clones from cochlear outer hair cells using PCR-based suppression subtractive hybridization. Audiol Neurootol 7: 277-288.
  20. He DZ, Jia SP & Dallos P (2003). Prestin and the dynamic stiffness of cochlear outer hair cells. J Neurosci 23: 9089-9096.
  21. He DZ, Beisel KW, Chen L, Ding D-L, Fritzsch B & Salvi R (2003). Chick hair cells do not exhibit voltage-dependent somatic motility. J Physiol 546: 511-520.
  22. He DZ, Jia SP & Feng F (2003). Thyroid hormone is not necessary for the development of outer hair cell electromotility. Hear Res 175: 183-189.
  23. He DZ, Jia SP & Dallos P (2004). Mechanoelectrical transduction of adult outer hair cells studied in a gerbil hemicochlea, Nature 429: 766-700.
  24. He DZ, Cheatham MA, Pearce M & Vetter DE (2004). Mouse outer hair cells lacking the alpha 9 ACh receptor are motile. Dev Brain Res 148: 19-25.
  25. Jia SP & He DZ (2005). Motility-associated hair bundle motion of outer hair cells. Nature Neurosci 8: 1028-1034.
  26. He DZ, Zheng J, Kalinec F, Kakehata S & Santos-Sacchi J (2006). Tuning in to the amazing outer hair cell: membrane wizardry with a twist and shout.  J Memb Biol 209: 119-134.
  27. Jia SP, Dallos P & He DZ (2007). Mechanoelectric transduction of adult inner hair cells. J Neurosci 27: 1006-1014.
  28. Albert  JT, Winter H, Schaechinger TJ, Weber T, Wang X, He DZ, Geisler H-S, Hendrich O, Zimmermann U, Göpfert MC, Oliver D & Knipper M (2007). Voltage-sensitive prestin orthologue expressed in zebrafish hair cells.  J Physiol 580: 451-461.
  29. Gao JG, Wang X, Wu XD, Aguinaga S, Huynh K, Jia SP, Matsuda K, Patel M, Zheng J, Cheatham MA, He* DZ, Dallos* P & Zuo* J (2007). Prestin-based outer hair cell electromotility in knockin mice does not appear to adjust the operating point of a cilia-based amplifier. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104: 12542-12547.  * contributed equally. 
  30. Wang X, Jia SP, Currall B, Yang SM & He DZ (2007). Streptomycin and gentamicin have no immediate effect on outer hair cell electromotility.  Hearing Res 234: 52-58.
  31. Dallos P, Wu XD, Gao J, Wang X, Jia SP, Anderson CT, Zheng J, Cheatham MA, He* DZ & Zuo* J (2008). Prestin-based outer hair cell motility is necessary for mammalian cochlear amplification.  Neuron 58: 333-339.  *contribute equally
  32. Wu XD, Wang X, Gao JG, Yu YL, Jia SP, Zheng J, Dallos P, He DZ, Cheatham MA & Zuo J (2008). Glucose transporter 5 is undetectable in outer hair cells and does not contribute to cochlear amplification. Brain Res 1210: 20-28.
  33. Yang SM, Hou ZH, Young WY, Zhang JS, Yang G, Guo W, Sun JH, Hu YY, Yu N, Yu YP, He DZ, Han DY & Yang X (2009). Chondrocyte-specific Smad4 gene conditional knockout results in hearing loss and inner ear malformation in mice.  Dev Dyn 238: 1897-1908.
  34. Kumano S, Tan X, He DZ, Iida K, Murakoshi M & Wada H (2009). Mutation-induced reinforcement of prestin-expressing cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 389: 569-574.
  35. Yang SM, Guo WW, Hu YY, Sun YX, Hou ZH, Sun JH, Wang X, He DZ, Zhai SQ, Young WY, Han DY & Yang X (2009). Smad5 haploinsufficiency leads to hair cell and hearing loss. Dev Neurobiol 69: 153-161.
  36. Jia SP, Yang SM, Guo WW & He DZ (2009). Fate of mammalian cochlear hair cells and stereocilia after loss of the stereocilia.  J Neurosci 29: 15277-15285.
  37. He DZ, Jia SP, Zuo J, Latham S, Riordan GP & Kachar B (2010).  Prestin function and the structure of the lateral membrane of outer hair cells. Cytoskeleton 67: 43-55.
  38. Wang X, Yang SM, Jia SP, He DZ (2010). Prestin forms oligomer with four mechanically independent subunits. Brain Res 1333: 28-35.
  39. Yang SM, Deng AC, Huang DL, Sun JH, Yang G, Yu YP, Hou ZH, Guo WW, Zhai SQ, He DZ, Han DY, Young WY, Yang X (2011). The role of Smad4 in vestibular development in mice. Int Dev Neurosci 29: 15-23.
  40. Tan XT, Pecka J, Okoruwa OE, Beisel KW, He DZ (2011). From zebrafish to mammal: Evolution of prestin, the motor protein of cochlear outer hair cells. J Neurophysiol 105: 36-44.
  41. Tang J, Pecka J, Tan XT, Beisel* KW, He DZ (2011). Engineered pendrin protein: an anion transporter and molecular motor. J Biol Chem 286: 31014-31021.
  42. Jia SP, Zhang XT, He DZ, Segal M, Berro A, Gerson T, Wang ZY, Casale TB (2011). Expression and function of estrogen receptor variants in mouse airway. J Allergy Clin Immunol 45: 1084-1089.
  43. Tan XT, Pecka J, Tang J, Okoruwa OE, Lovas S, Beisel* KW, He DZ (2012). A motif of eleven amino acids is a structural adaptation that facilitates motor capability of eutherian prestin. J Cell Sci 125: 1039-1047.
  44. Xu JC, Huang DL, Hou ZH, Guo WW, Sun JH, Zhao LD, Yu N, Young WY, He DZ, Yang SM (2012). Type I hair cell regeneration induced by Math1 gene transfer following neomycin ototoxicity in rat vestibular sensory epithelium. Acta Otolaryngol 132: 819-828.
  45. Ren A, Zhang H, Xie Z, Ma X, Ji W, He DZ, Yuan W, Ding YQ, Zhang X, Zhang WJ (2012). Regulation of hippocampus-dependent memory by the zinc finger protein Zbtb20 in mature CA1 neurons.  J Physiol 590: 4917-4932.
  46. Yang* SM, Chen W, Guo WW, Sun JH, Young WY, Jia SP, He DZ (2012). Regeneration of stereocilia of cochlear hair cells by forced Atoh1 expression in the adult mammalian cochlea. PLoS One 7(9): e46355. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046355.
  47. Yuan YY, Guo WW, Tang J, Zhang GZ, Zhang X, Yang SM, He DZ, Pu D (2012). Molecular epidemiological survey and functional assessment of novel allelic variants of SLC26A4 in non-syndromic hearing loss patients with enlarged vestibular aquaduct in China.  PLoS One 7(11): e49984. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049984.
  48. Tang J, Pecka J, Tan XT, Beisel KW, He DZ (2013). Lizard and frog prestin: Evolutionary insight into functional changes.  PLoS One 8(1): e54388. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone. 0054388.
  49. Zhang Q, Liu HZ, McGee J, Walsh EJ, Soukup GA, He DZ (2013). Identifying microRNAs involved in degeneration of the organ of Corti during age-related hearing loss.  PLoS One 8(4): e62786. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062786.
  50. Mao ZP, Zhao LJ, Pu LC, Wang MX, Zhang Q, He DZ (2013). How well can centenarians hear? PLoS One 8(6): e65565. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065565.
  51. He DZ, Lovas S, Ai Yu, Yi Li, Beisel KW (2013). Prestin at year 14: Progress and prospect. Hear Res pii: S0378-5955(13)00288-8. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2013.12.002.
  52. Li Y, Liu HZ, Li J, Zhang Q, Gong SS, He DZ (2014). Morphology and ciliary motion of mucosa in the eustachian tube of neonatal and adult gerbils.  PLoS One 9(6): e99840. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099840.
  53. Liu HZ, Pecka J, Zhang Q, Soukup GA, Beisel KW, He DZ (2014). Characterization of transcriptomes of cochlear inner and outer hair cells. J Neurosci 34: 11080-11090
  54. Zhang Q, Liu HZ, Soukup GA, He DZ (2014). Identifying miRNAs involved in aging of the stria vascularis. PLoS One 9(11): e112857. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112857.
  55. Ren AJ, Wang K, Zhang H, Liu A, Ma X, Liang Q, Cao D, Wood JN, He DZ, Ding YQ, Yuan WJ, Xie Z, Zhang WJ (2014). ZBTB20 regulates nociception and pain sensation by modulating TRP channel expression in nociceptive sensory neurons. Nat Commun 5: 4984-4991. PMID: 25369838.
  56. Lovas S, He DZ, Liu H, Tang J, Pecka JL, Hatfield MP, Beisel KW (2015). Glutamate transporter homolog-based model predicts that anion-π interaction is the mechanism for the voltage-dependent response of prestin. J Biol Chem 290:24326-39.
  57. Guo W, Yi H, Yan Z, Ren L, Chen L, Zhao LD, Ning Y, He DZ, Yang SM (2015) The morphological and functional development of the stria vascularis in miniature pigs. Reprod Fertil Dev. doi: 10.1071/RD15183. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26423062.
  58. Nichols DH, Bouma JE, Liu HZ, Pecka J, Zhang Q, Beisel KW, He DZ, Fritzsch B (2015). Roles for Endothelin3 and Wnt4 in assembly of the stria vascularis: Lessons from the Lmx1a mutant mouse. Dev Dyn (under review).
  59. Li Y, Liu HZ, Zhao LD, Zhang WJ, Yang SM, Gong SS Beisel KW, He DZ (2016). Transcription factors expressed in the cochlear inner and outer hair cells of adult mice.  PLoS One (under revision).
  60. He DZ, Li Y, Jia SP, Liu HZ, Guo WW, Beisel KW, Yang SM (2016). Notch signaling regulates stereocilia genesis in the organ of Corti. Development (submitted).