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Dwayne Simmons, Ph.D.

Email Address:
Work Email Address:

Laboratory Address:
610 Charles E. Young Drive East
Dept. Integrative Biology and Physiology
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Office Address:
Dept. Integrative Biology and Physiology
610 Charles E. Young Drive East
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Lab Number:
(310) 206-1790
Office Phone Number:
(310) 794-1228

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Department / Division Affiliations
Professor, Integrative Biology and Physiology, Neuroscience IDP
Collaborator, Vestibular Neuroscience Laboratory
Member, ACCESS Program: Dept. of Molecular, Cell & Integrative Physiology, ACCESS Program, Access Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology Home Area, Access Neuroscience Home Area, Brain Research Institute, Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology IDP

Research Interest:


Sensorineural hearing and balance disorders affect millions of people in this country. Understanding the development of sensorineural connections within the vertebrate inner ear could lead to a better understanding of hearing and balance disorders. Research in my laboratory concerns the development of synapses and sensory cells in the inner ear. Our studies use molecular and imaging techniques to characterize cholinergic neurons and synapses as they develop in both the rodent brainstem and inner ear. We also investigate calcium binding proteins and their role in the maturation and function of sensory cells. In order to study how sensory cells and neurons in the ear recover from damage, we use an amphibian model. In our studies of the frog inner ear, we use an in vitro culture system that supports both hair cell and neuronal regeneration to study how hair cells acquire, organize, and maintain their synaptic machinery.


Dwayne D. Simmons is a member of the Brain Research Institute, a professor in the Neuroscience IDP and college department of Integrative Biology and Physiology. Upon returning to UCLA, Dr. Simmons became a full professor in 2007 and is director of several biomedical undergraduate research training programs including Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC), Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program, and the BRI Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE). He also serves as the BRI Director of Neuroscience Education and Outreach. Dr. Simmons graduated from Pepperdine University with concentrations in biology and math/computer science. He did his Ph.D. thesis work at Harvard Medical School. In addition to UCLA, he has served on the faculties of Pepperdine University and Washington University School of Medicine. His laboratory research focuses on molecular and cellular mechanisms of development and aging in the inner ear. Currently, Dr. Simmons is investigating the role of calcium homeostasis and signaling in hearing loss.


Miller Mia E, Nasiri Arian K, Farhangi Peyman O, Farahbakhsh Nasser A, Lopez Ivan A, Narins Peter M, Simmons Dwayne D Evidence for water-permeable channels in auditory hair cells in the leopard frog. Hearing research. 2012; 292(1-2): 64-70.
Simmons Dwayne D, Tong Benton, Schrader Angela D, Hornak Aubrey J Oncomodulin identifies different hair cell types in the mammalian inner ear. The Journal of comparative neurology. 2010; 518(18): 3785-802.
Osman Abdullah A, Schrader Angela D, Hawkes Aubrey J, Akil Omar, Bergeron Adam, Lustig Lawrence R, Simmons Dwayne D Muscle-like nicotinic receptor accessory molecules in sensory hair cells of the inner ear. Molecular and cellular neurosciences. 2008; 38(2): 153-69.
Gagnon Patricia M, Simmons Dwayne D, Bao Jianxin, Lei Debin, Ortmann Amanda J, Ohlemiller Kevin K Temporal and genetic influences on protection against noise-induced hearing loss by hypoxic preconditioning in mice. Hearing research. 2007; 226(1-2): 79-91.
Bergeron Adam L, Schrader Angela, Yang Dan, Osman Abdullah A, Simmons Dwayne D The final stage of cholinergic differentiation occurs below inner hair cells during development of the rodent cochlea. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology : JARO. 2005; 6(4): 401-15.
Simmons Dwayne D Development of the inner ear efferent system across vertebrate species. Journal of neurobiology. 2002; 53(2): 228-50.
Morley Barbara J, Simmons Dwayne D Developmental mRNA expression of the alpha10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit in the rat cochlea. Brain research. Developmental brain research. 2002; 139(1): 87-96.
Raji-Kubba Juman, Micevych Paul E, Simmons Dwayne D The superior olivary complex of the hamster has multiple periods of cholinergic neuron development. Journal of chemical neuroanatomy. 2002; 24(2): 75-93.
Simmons, DD Moulding, HD Zee, D Olivocochlear innervation of inner and outer hair cells during postnatal maturation: an immunocytochemical study. Brain research. Developmental brain research. . 1996; 95(2): 213-26.
Simmons, DD Mansdorf, NB Kim, JH Olivocochlear innervation of inner and outer hair cells during postnatal maturation: evidence for a waiting period. The Journal of comparative neurology. . 1996; 370(4): 551-62.
Simmons, D.D., C.B. Bertolotto, and M. Leong Synaptic ultrastructure within the amphibian papilla of Rana pipiens pipiens: Rostrocaudal differences. Auditory Neuroscience 1995; 1: 183-193.
Simmons, DD Bertolotto, C Narins, PM Morphological gradients in sensory hair cells of the amphibian papilla of the frog, Rana pipiens pipiens. Hearing research. . 1994; 80(1): 71-8.