Capita Foundation grants cutting edge researchers up to $10,000, often renewable annually for up to two additional years.  Our Science Advisory Board reviews proposals received before June 1, and awards are announced generally by end of September of the same year.

Any scientist pursuing independent research can apply for a Capita Foundation Auditory Research grant. Thinking outside the box is most welcome, and priority is often given to projects with promising clinical applications.  All correspondence is held in strictest confidence.  Applicants submit a maximum of three pages (not including references) detailing future project, as well as a CV and budget in three separate files to:

Note:  If your application is processed by University Research Administrative Staff, all information must be sent from the Principle Investigator's email address, otherwise the application will not be considered.

Feel free to contact us with any questions. Applications are due before June 1 of each grant cycle. Please send electronic documents using PDF or Microsoft® Word format.

Grant Applications should include the following:
  • Project title
  • Mailing address and phone contacts of principal investigator(s)
  • Detailed budget (in a separate document) - including support staff salary (students, post-docs) and materials.
Note: Capita Foundation does not fund overhead expenses/indirect costs.


  • Allison Coffin, Ph.D. | Washington State University, Vancouver | Project: “The effects of estrogen on hair cell survival and efficient hearing: A next - generation mRNA - sequencing approach”
  • Claus-Peter Richter, M.D., Ph.D. | Northwestern University | Project: “Non-auditory cortical centers help speech processing”
  • Fuxin Shi, Ph.D. | Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School | Project: “A Molecular Signaling Approach To Treatment of Deafness in Infants”
  • Joe C. Adams, Ph.D. | Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School | Project: “Inner Ear Lymphatics and Cochlear Inflammatory Responses”
  • Ruth Van Nispen, Ph.D. | VU University Medical Center Amsterdam | Project: “Evaluating cost-effectiveness of a Dual-Sensory Loss treatment protocol in vision and hearing impaired older adults”
  • Sabrina Yum, Ph.D. | Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and The University of Pennsylvania | Project: “Defining the role of ER stress associated with deafness GJB2/Cx26 mutations”
  • Valeriy Shafiro, Ph.D. | Rush University Medical Center | Project: “Environmental sound and speech perception in relation to language development in children with cochlear implants”
  • Andrew Sabin, PhD | Ear Machine | Project: Hearing Aid Genome Project”


  • Adrian Fuente, Ph. D | Project Title: Age-Related Changes in the Central Auditory Nervous System and Hearing Aid Benefit in Older Adults. - The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  • Carol De Filippo, Ph.D and Catherine Clark, Au.D | Project Title: Improving Speech Perception in Prelingually Deaf Listeners: Exploring a Novel Training Concept.
  • Daniel J. Guillaume, M.D., M.Sc. | Project Title: Evaluation of Hearing Loss in Children After Two Different Treatments for Hydrocephalus. - Department of Neurological Surgery Oregon Health & Science University of Portland
  • Dr. Ikaro Silva and Dr. Leo Celi | Project Title: Hearing Loss Screening Through Cell Phones. - Harvard MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
  • John Ramcharitar, Ph.D | Project Title: Physiological Assessment of Ototoxicity and Octoprotection In New Zealand. - Department of Biology, St. Mary's College of Maryland
  • Martin Schwander, Ph.D | Project Title: Role of Gasdermins in Auditory Function and Hearing Loss. - Rutgers University Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience
  • Michelle Hastings, Ph.D | Project Title: Development of a Treatment for Usher Syndrome. - Cell Biology and Anatomy Chicago Medical School Rosalind Franklin University of Health Sciences
  • Yang Zhang, Ph.D | Project Title: Investigating Neural Mechanisms for Listening Through Cochlear Implant and Hearing Aid. - Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences (SLHS) and Center for Neurobehavioral Development, University of Minnesota
  • Jonah Kohn | Project Title: Music Through Multi-Frequency Tactile Sound. - San Diego 8th Grade Student


  • Henry Ou, Ph.D | Project Title: Use of fluorescently-conjugated cisplatin to study the uptake of cisplatin into hair cells. - Seattle Children’s Hospital and University of Washington
  • Amir Lahav, Sc.D., Ph.D. | Project Title: Auditory Brain Development and Hearing Outcomes in Preterm Newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Brigham and Women's Hospital - Mass General Hospital for Children, Harvard Medical School
  • Derek J. Stiles, Ph.D., CCC-A | Project Title: Assessment of Hearing Aid Benefit for Infants with Hearing Loss by Analyzing Changes in Cry Spectra - Rush University Medical Center
  • Lauren Calandruccio, Ph.D., CCC-– City University New York | Project Title: Normative data for new sentence-recognition materials developed specifically for non-native speakers of English. - Queens College
  • Peter Torre III, Ph.D., M.S. – San Diego State University | Project Title: The Effects of Personal Music System Use on Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions Ruth van Nispen, Ph.D - VU University Medical Center Amsterdam | Project Title: Development of a Dual Sensory Loss-protocol in vision and hearing impaired older adults
  • Alan M. Robinson Ph.D. - Northwestern University |Project Title: Evaluation of minocycline action for the protection of hearing following ototoxic antibiotic treatment and noise exposure
  • Kiriaki Domenica Karavitaki, Ph.D. - Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurobiology | Project Title: Investigating the consequences of deafness mutations on hair bundle nanomechanics
  • Ruth van Nispen, Ph.D. - VU University Medical Center Amsterdam | Project Title: Development of a Duel Sensory Loss-protocol in vision and hearing impaired older adults


  • Karen A. Doherty, Ph.D. | "Improving communication for older hospital patents with assistive listening devices" Syracuse University
  • Avril Genene Holt, Ph.D. | "Control of Auditory Neurons via Light Gated Channels following Deafness"- Wayne State University School of medicine
  • Monika Kordus, Ph.D. | "Improving Binaural Fitting Procedures of Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant through Loudness Judgments throughout the Dynamic Range" – University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics
  • Lisa Goodrich, Ph.D. | "Rewiring the Cochlea: A Genetic Screen for Regulators of Auditory Circuit Assembly" – Harvard Medical School


  • Michael J. Epstein, Ph.D. | "Automated procedures for the estimation of individual loudness-growth functions for improved hearing-aid fitting" – Northeastern Universityy
  • Zheng-Yi Chen, D. Phil. | "Identification and analysis of inner ear stem cell genes" – Harvard medical School
  • Derron Herr, Ph.D. | "Exploring new modalities for the treatment of hearing loss thru the study of SIP signaling"- Scripps Research institute • Victor Pikov, Ph.D. | "Tinnitus - related pathophysiology in the cochlear nucleus" – Huntington Medical Research institute


  • Joseph Donaher, Ph.D. | “SANDBOX" (Simulated Activities of Naturalistic Disclosure) - Children’s Hospital of Philadelphiaa
  • Kevin Frank, Ph.D. | "Testing the perceptual limits of acoustic and electric hearing in children using cochlear implants"- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Clause-Peter Richter, Ph.D. | "The current distribution in the cochlea and coding of acoustic information" -Northwestern University • Alan M.Robinson, Ph.D. | "Inhibition of apoptosis as a means to mitigate hearing loss in mice" -Northwestern University • Peter Santi, Ph.D. | "High Resolution Imaging of the Cochlea in an x-Linked Alport Mouse Model" University of Minnesota
  • Paul Webster, Ph.D. | "Identifying and Treating Biofilm Infections Associated with Otitis Media" House Ear Institute


  • Analysis of parameters for the estimation of loudness from toneburst otoacoustic emissions - Michael Epstein, Ph.D. and Ikaro Silvaa Estimation of Postaverage SNR from Evoked Responses Under Nonstationary Noise – Ikaro Silva (medline)
  • Optical Stimulation of the Facial Nerve: A New Monitoring Technique? - Ingo Ulrik Teudt, MD; Adam E. Nevel, BS; Agnella D. Izzo, PhD; Joseph T. Walsh, Jr, PhD; Claus-Peter Richter, MD, PhDD (medline)
  • Laser Stimulation of the Auditory Nerve - Agnella D. Izzo, MS, Claus-Peter Richter, MD, PhD, E. Duco Jansen, PhD, and Joseph T. Walsh, Jr., Ph.D. (medline)
  • Selectivity of optical stimulation in the auditory system - Agnella D. Izzo, Jyoti Pathria, Eul Suh, Joseph T. Walsh, Jr., Donna S. Whitlon, E. Duco Jansen, and Claus-Peter Richterr (medline)
  • Laser stimulation of auditory neurons at high repetition rate - Agnella D. Izzo,, Philip Littlefield, Joseph T. Walsh, Jr., Jim Webb, Heather Ralph, Mark Bendett, E. Duco Jansen, and Claus-Peter Richter
  • Optical Parameter Variability in Laser Nerve Stimulation: a study of pulse duration, repetition rate, and wavelength - Agnella D. Izzo, Joseph T. Walsh, Jr., E. Duco Jansen, Mark Bendett, Jim Webb, Heather Ralph, and Claus-Peter Richter (medline)
  • Optical stimulation of the auditory system – Richter, C.-P., Izzo, A. D., Pathria, J., Suh, E., Jansen, E. D., Walsh Jr., J.T. (ARO Conference 2006) • Selectivity of optical stimulation in the auditory system - Izzo, A. D., Pathria, J., Jansen, E. D., Richter, C.-P.
  • Development of a thin-sheet laser illuminator for optical sectioning – Peter Santi, Tiffany Glass, Dave Hultman, James Leger, and Dauda Mawanda (ARO Conference 2007) (medline)


Peter A. Santi, Ph.D. "Development of a Thin-Sheet Laser Illuminator for Optical Sectioning"

Project #1: The goal of this research is to develop a new, high resolution, laser illuminator that would optically section relatively thick (mm-cm) tissues. This new device (thin-sheet laser illuminator) will allow investigators to image whole tissues at high resolution, and is compatible with selective, fluorochrome-labeling of tissues structures. This device will efficiently produce a stack of well-aligned images for three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of tissue structures in order to provide a better understanding of structure/function relationships within a complex sensory organ such as the cochlea. Development of this device will enable other investigators to optically section a wide range of large tissues (e.g., eye, heart, kidney, bones...) and due to its low cost and flexibility, it can be used in individual and service laboratories and fitted to a wide range of microscopes.

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Project #2: "High Resolution Imaging of the Cochlea in an x-Linked Alport Mouse Model". Alport syndrome is a progressive, hereditary disorder of basement membranes which includes deafness, progressive glomerulopathy, and end-stage kidney disease (Kastan, 2002). X-linked Alport syndrome is caused by mutations in the COL4A5 gene and comprises 80% of all known cases. 100% of males with this gene are affected; whereas, female carriers show a more benign course of the disease. This mutation results in the lack of the production of novel (alpha 3,4,5 type IV collagen chains), and in the kidney, lack of these novel chains results in splitting and fragmentation of the glomerular basement membrane and kidney failure. We have previously described (Kleppel et al.,1989ab) the presence of novel type IV collagen chains in the basement membrane of the basilar membrane in cochlea in normal humans. More recently, we have also described pathological changes in temporal bones from humans with Alport syndrome (Merchant et al., 2004), and the lack of novel type IV collagen chains in their basement membranes (Zhender et al., 2005). We proposed that these "zones of separation" are due to the lack of the novel chains in certain cochlear basement membranes and are the cause of the progressive, sensor neural hearing loss observed in Alport patients. Recently, and X-linked mouse model of Alport syndrome has been developed here at the University of Minnesota (Rheault et al., 2004), and Dr. Segal has generously agreed to provide us with these animals. Although kidney degeneration patterns have shown in this animal model, cochlear pathologies have not yet been investigated. I propose to examine cochlea from this animal model and to determine if basilar membrane defects are present which are similar to those that we described in cochlea from humans with Alport syndrome. This research should provide important information on the pathophysiological mechanisms of hearing loss in Alport syndrome, facilitate future funding opportunities, and promote gene therapy studies for inner ear diseases, which would cure this disease and its hearing loss in humans.


Joseph Donaher Ph.D. The SANDBOX is a virtual reality, computer based program which will allow educators, parents and other interested parties to enter a realistic school-based setting while having a disability like stuttering or a hearing loss simulated electronically. They will then be asked to maneuver through a set of activities similar to those routinely faced by children with disabilities. In this way, the families and professionals may gain a heightened sense of the obstacles faced daily by the child and the inherent difficulty of incorporating rehabilitation strategies into everyday experiences. This tool will also allow clinicians and children with disabilities to practice strategies or techniques in a safe virtual environment prior to trying them in the classroom. The SANDBOX program will also allow researchers to explore situations commonly experienced by children with developmental disabilities. Thus, the Sandbox program is a powerful tool to increase carryover of new skills, to advance our knowledge base on developmental disabilities and to educate families and professionals.