Principal Investigator

Doctor

Heiko Locher

Dr. Heiko Locher is a principal investigator at reNEW and an ear, nose, and throat surgeon working on neurological and developmental disorders of the ear, and implants. His research focuses on understanding the inner ear and ultimately use this information to find treatments for balance and hearing disorders.

Doctor
Heiko Locher
Location: LUMC, Netherlands

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Dr. Heiko Locher is a principal investigator at reNEW and an ear, nose, and throat surgeon working on neurological and developmental disorders of the ear, and implants. His research focuses on understanding the inner ear and ultimately use this information to find treatments for balance and hearing disorders.

Dr. Locher aims to understand the human inner ear, which consists of the vestibular organs (for balance) and the cochlea (for hearing). By studying the inner ear during its development, he identifies the key signals that shape the inner ear, which eventually develop into functional sensory organs. In addition, Dr. Locher grows human stem cells that are induced to differentiate into three-dimensional inner ear organoids – mini organs. This approach enables him to evaluate the effects of various treatments on the inner ear and its morphology. The goal is to use organoid and organ-on-a-chip technology to test and validate new treatments for balance and hearing disorders, as well as tailor-made therapies to individual patients.

Dr. Locher is a principal investigator (PI) within reNEW. As one of the junior PIs in reNEW, he only started his group OtoBiologyLeiden in 2019, but his team has already published multiple scientific articles. In addition, Dr. Locher is co-promotor for 5 PhD students, for which he was nominated by the LUMC association for PhD candidates as Supervisor of the Year in 2021.  Besides being a researcher, Dr. Locher is also an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeon and a teacher for medical and biomedical students as well as ENT residents at the Leiden University Medical Center.

reNEW researchers have a strong track record of scientific excellence in stem cell biology

They have performed pioneering work in stem cell research spanning different tissue and cell types, different technological advances and different stages of applied research. This provides an unprecedented international opportunity to utilise the combined wealth of knowledge, complementary skills sets and clinical experience across reNEW to push stem cell discoveries toward translational outcomes.