Dr. Karen "Chava" Hurley has a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Chicago and a BA from Northwestern University. She has completed postdoctoral fellowships at Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, Texas in the Bobby Alford Department of Otolaryngology as well as the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Hurley has appointments in the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Professional Studies and the Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, within Drexel University College of Medicine where she teaches courses in graduate physiology, molecular biology and biochemistry of the cell, and technical laboratory courses. In addition, Dr. Hurley is the director for the Master of Science in Medical Science program.
In addition to her academic credentials, Dr. Hurley is a registered patent agent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. She has drafted and prosecuted a number of patents before the USPTO and is interested in the relationship between translational research and the practice of medicine.
Dr. Hurley's research interests focus on using auditory and vestibular hair cells as models of information processing in the nervous system. These cells are particularly attractive model systems for a number of reasons: first, they are excellent, well-studied models of sensory transduction; second, they have an extensive repertoire of ion channels which shape the receptor potential of the hair cell; third, the hair cell itself is a readily accessible pre-synaptic terminal while, type I hair cells in amniotes also have an enlarged post-synaptic element. This unusual synapse makes studying the mechanisms of synaptic transmission at both the pre- and post-synaptic element tractable; fourth, these cells are easily isolated, making it possible to combine electrophysiological and molecular analyses of the various elements involved at various stages of sensory transduction. Dr. Hurley's current research is focused on elucidating novel mechanisms of calcium signaling and regulation in hair cells.