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Richard D. Rabbitt

Phone: (801) 581-6968
Phone: (801) 581-8528
Office: 4527 SMBB, 36 S. Wasatch

Richard D. Rabbitt

Professor, Bioengineering
Adjunct Professor, Otolaryngology
Faculty, Neuroscience Program
Ph.D. (1986) Rensselaer Polytech. Inst. Troy, NY
M.S. (1982) Michigan State Univ. East Lansing, MI
B.S. (1980) Michigan State Univ. East Lansing, MI


Biophysics, Biosensors, Neural Engineering, Biomechanics

Current Research

Biophysics, biomechanics and neurophysiology of the inner ear including the cochlea, semicircular canals and otolith organs. Optical stimulation of neurons, hair cells, myocytes and synaptic transmission. Ultrasound neural stimulation.

Technical Expertise:
Electrophysiology, Physiology, Instrumentation, Data acquisition and control, Mathematical modeling and analysis, Software development

Active Grants:
“Biophysics and biomechanics of the semicircular canals” (NIH R01 DC06685)
“Focused Ultrasound Activation of Vestibular Otolith Organs” (NIH R21 DC016443)

Recently Completed Projects
“Sound evoked vestibular responses” Subcontract from H. Zhu, U Mississippi, (NIH R01 DC012060)
“Infrared photoactivation of inner ear hair cells” (NIH R01 DC011481)
“Micro-Electric Impedance Spectroscopy of Hair Cells” (NIH R01 DC04928)

Selected Publications

Iversen MM, Zhu H, Zhou W, Della Santina CC, Carey JP, Rabbitt RD, Sound abnormally stimulates the vestibular system in canal dehiscence syndrome by generating pathological fluid-mechanical waves. Sci Rep 2018 Jul 6;8(1):10257

Araújo R, Fernandez V, Rabbitt RD, Ekdale EG, Antunes MT, Castanhinha R, Fröbisch J, Martins RMS, Endothiodon cf. bathystoma (Synapsida: Dicynodontia) bony labyrinth anatomy, variation and body mass estimates. PLoS One 2018;13(3):e0189883

Poppi LA, Tabatabaee H, Drury HR, Jobling P, Callister RJ, Migliaccio AA, Jordan PM, Holt JC, Rabbitt RD, Lim R, Brichta AM, ACh-induced hyperpolarization and decreased resistance in mammalian type II vestibular hair cells. J Neurophysiol 2017 Oct 4;:jn.00030.2017

Iversen MM, Rabbitt RD, Wave Mechanics of the Vestibular Semicircular Canals. Biophys J 2017 Sep 5;113(5):1133-1149

Iversen MM, Christensen DA, Parker DL, Holman HA, Chen J, Frerck MJ, Rabbitt RD, Low-intensity ultrasound activates vestibular otolith organs through acoustic radiation force. J Acoust Soc Am 2017 Jun;141(6):4209

Holman HA, Tran VM, Kalita M, Nguyen LN, Arungundram S, Kuberan B, Rabbitt RD, BODIPY-Conjugated Xyloside Primes Fluorescent Glycosaminoglycans in the Inner Ear of Opsanus tau. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 2016 Dec;17(6):525-540

Rabbitt RD, Brichta AM, Tabatabaee H, Boutros PJ, Ahn J, Della Santina CC, Poppi LA, Lim R, Heat pulse excitability of vestibular hair cells and afferent neurons. J Neurophysiol 2016 Aug 1;116(2):825-43

Highstein SM, Mann MA, Holstein GR, Rabbitt RD, The quantal component of synaptic transmission from sensory hair cells to the vestibular calyx. J Neurophysiol 2015 Jun 1;113(10):3827-35

Liu Q, Frerck MJ, Holman HA, Jorgensen EM, Rabbitt RD, Exciting cell membranes with a blustering heat shock. Biophys J 2014 Apr 15;106(8):1570-7

Highstein SM, Holstein GR, Mann MA, Rabbitt RD, Evidence that protons act as neurotransmitters at vestibular hair cell-calyx afferent synapses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014 Apr 8;111(14):5421-6

Dittami GM, Sethi M, Rabbitt RD, Ayliffe HE, Determination of mammalian cell counts, cell size and cell health using the Moxi Z mini automated cell counter. J Vis Exp 2012 Jun 21;(64):

Rabbitt RD, Brownell WE, Efferent modulation of hair cell function. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2011 Oct;19(5):376-81

Rajguru SM, Richter CP, Matic AI, Holstein GR, Highstein SM, Dittami GM, Rabbitt RD, Infrared photostimulation of the crista ampullaris. J Physiol 2011 Mar 15;589(Pt 6):1283-94

Dittami GM, Rajguru SM, Lasher RA, Hitchcock RW, Rabbitt RD, Intracellular calcium transients evoked by pulsed infrared radiation in neonatal cardiomyocytes. J Physiol 2011 Mar 15;589(Pt 6):1295-306

Dharia S, Rabbitt RD, Monitoring voltage-dependent charge displacement of Shaker B-IR K+ ion channels using radio frequency interrogation. PLoS One 2011 Feb 28;6(2):e17363

Rabbitt RD, Boyle R, Highstein SM, Mechanical amplification by hair cells in the semicircular canals. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2010 Feb 23;107(8):3864-9

Dharia S, Rabbitt RD, Monitoring voltage-sensitive membrane impedance change using radio frequency interrogation. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2010;2010:889-94

Dittami GM, Rabbitt RD, Electrically evoking and electrochemically resolving quantal release on a microchip. Lab Chip 2010 Jan 7;10(1):30-5

Dharia S, Ayliffe HE, Rabbitt RD, Single cell electric impedance topography: mapping membrane capacitance. Lab Chip 2009 Dec 7;9(23):3370-7

Rabbitt RD, Breneman KD, King C, Yamauchi AM, Boyle R, Highstein SM, Dynamic displacement of normal and detached semicircular canal cupula. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 2009 Dec;10(4):497-509

Boyle R, Rabbitt RD, Highstein SM, Efferent control of hair cell and afferent responses in the semicircular canals. J Neurophysiol 2009 Sep;102(3):1513-25

Rabbitt RD, Clifford S, Breneman KD, Farrell B, Brownell WE, Power efficiency of outer hair cell somatic electromotility. PLoS Comput Biol 2009 Jul;5(7):e1000444

Breneman KD, Highstein SM, Boyle RD, Rabbitt RD, The passive cable properties of hair cell stereocilia and their contribution to somatic capacitance measurements. Biophys J 2009 Jan;96(1):1-8

Breneman KD, Rabbitt RD, Piezo- and Flexoelectric Membrane Materials Underlie Fast Biological Motors in the Ear. Mater Res Soc Symp Proc 2009 Spring;1186E:

Breneman KD, Brownell WE, Rabbitt RD, Hair cell bundles: flexoelectric motors of the inner ear. PLoS One 2009;4(4):e5201

Dittami GM, Ayliffe HE, King CS, Rabbitt RD, A Multilayer MEMS Platform for Single-Cell Electric Impedance Spectroscopy and Electrochemical Analysis. J Microelectromech Syst 2008 Aug 1;17(4):850-862

Ghanem TA, Breneman KD, Rabbitt RD, Brown HM, Ionic composition of endolymph and perilymph in the inner ear of the oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau. Biol Bull 2008 Feb;214(1):83-90

Ifediba MA, Rajguru SM, Hullar TE, Rabbitt RD, The role of 3-canal biomechanics in angular motion transduction by the human vestibular labyrinth. Ann Biomed Eng 2007 Jul;35(7):1247-63

Rajguru SM, Rabbitt RD, Afferent responses during experimentally induced semicircular canalithiasis. J Neurophysiol 2007 Mar;97(3):2355-63

Highstein SM, Rabbitt RD, Holstein GR, Boyle R , Determinants of spatial and temporal coding by semicircular canal afferents. J Neurophysiol 2005 May;93(5):2359-70

Smeal RM, Rabbitt R, Biran R, Tresco P , Substrate curvature influences the direction of nerve outgrowth. Ann Biomed Eng 2005 Mar;33(3):376-82

Rabbitt RD, Ayliffe HE, Christensen D, Pamarthy K, Durney C, Clifford S, Brownell WE, Evidence of piezoelectric resonance in isolated outer hair cells. Biophys J 2005 Mar;88(3):2257-65

Rajguru SM, Ifediba MA, Rabbitt RD, Biomechanics of horizontal canal benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. J Vestib Res 2005;15(4):203-14

Rabbitt RD, Boyle R, Holstein GR, Highstein SM, Hair-cell versus afferent adaptation in the semicircular canals. J Neurophysiol 2005 Jan;93(1):424-36

Holstein GR, Rabbitt RD, Martinelli GP, Friedrich VL Jr, Boyle RD, Highstein S , Convergence of excitatory and inhibitory hair cell transmitters shapes vestibular afferent responses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2004 Nov 2;101(44):15766-71

Rajguru SM, Ifediba MA, Rabbitt RD, Three-dimensional biomechanical model of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Ann Biomed Eng 2004 Jun;32(6):831-46

Holstein GR, Martinelli GP, Boyle R, Rabbitt RD, Highstein S , Ultrastructural observations of efferent terminals in the crista Ampullaris of the toadfish, opsanus tau. Exp Brain Res 2004 Apr;155(3):265-73

Ayliffe HE, Rabbitt R, An electric impedance based microelectromechanical system flow sensor for ionic solutions. Meas Sci Technol 2003 Aug;14(8):1321-1327

Veress AI, Weiss JA, Gullberg GT, Vince DG, Rabbitt RD, Strain measurement in coronary arteries using intravascular ultrasound and deformable images. J Biomech Eng 2002 Dec;124(6):734-41

Farmer-Fedor BL, Rabbitt RD, Acoustic intensity, impedance and reflection coefficient in the human ear canal. J Acoust Soc Am 2002 Aug;112(2):600-20

Yamauchi A, Rabbitt RD, Boyle R, Highstein SM, Relationship between inner-ear fluid pressure and semicircular canal afferent nerve discharge. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 2002 Mar;3(1):26-44

Rabbitt RD, Boyle R, Highstein SM, Physiology of the semicircular canals after surgical plugging. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2001 Oct;942:274-86

Rabbitt RD, Yamauchi AM, Boyle R, Highstein SM, How endolymph pressure modulates semicircular canal primary afferent discharge. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2001 Oct;942:313-21

Rabbitt RD, Boyle R, Highstein SM, Influence of surgical plugging on horizontal semicircular canal mechanics and afferent response dynamics. J Neurophysiol 1999 Aug;82(2):1033-53

Rabbitt RD, Directional coding of three-dimensional movements by the vestibular semicircular canals. Biol Cybern 1999 Jun;80(6):417-31

Ghanem TA, Rabbitt RD, Tresco PA, Three-dimensional reconstruction of the membranous vestibular labyrinth in the toadfish, Opsanus tau. Hear Res 1998 Oct;124(1-2):27-43

Rabbitt RD, Highstein SM, Boyle R, Determinants of semicircular canal afferent response dynamics in fish. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1996 Jun 19;781:213-43

Rabbitt RD, Boyle R, Highstein SM, Mechanical indentation of the vestibular labyrinth and its relationship to head rotation in the toadfish, Opsanus tau. J Neurophysiol 1995 Jun;73(6):2237-60

Rabbitt RD, Boyle R, Highstein SM, Sensory transduction of head velocity and acceleration in the toadfish horizontal semicircular canal. J Neurophysiol 1994 Aug;72(2):1041-8

Christensen GE, Rabbitt RD, Miller M , 3D brain mapping using a deformable neuroanatomy. Phys Med Biol 1994 Mar;39(3):609-18

Rabbitt RD, Friedrich M , Ear canal cross-sectional pressure distributions: mathematical analysis and computation. J Acoust Soc Am 1991 May;89(5):2379-90

Rabbitt R , A hierarchy of examples illustrating the acoustic coupling of the eardrum. J Acoust Soc Am 1990 Jun;87(6):2566-82

Rabbitt R , High-frequency plane waves in the ear canal: application of a simple asymptotic theory. J Acoust Soc Am 1988 Dec;84(6):2070-80

Rabbitt RD, Holmes M , Three-dimensional acoustic waves in the ear canal and their interaction with the tympanic membrane. J Acoust Soc Am 1988 Mar;83(3):1064-80

Rabbitt RD, Holmes M , A fibrous dynamic continuum model of the tympanic membrane. J Acoust Soc Am 1986 Dec;80(6):1716-28