Dr. Pawlowski has worked on ultrastructure of the inner ear since 1982. Her lab investigates the effects of mutated genes responsible for auditory and vestibular pathology on the Organ of Corti morphology. The lab focuses on the understanding of the role of genes that are responsible for hearing loss, in hopes that it will lead to the development of new treatments in the future. Presently the work concentrates on describing the inner ear pathology caused by several mutations associated with Usher’s syndrome, a condition where patients lose their hearing early in life followed by the loss of vision by early adulthood.
Dr. Pawlowski’s laboratory also performs research and development of medications and materials designed to treat various forms of otitis media. The ongoing research also focuses on the reduction of indwelling implant failure, which is often associated with biofilm-based infections. Biofilms play a role in the development of intractable infections that require surgery to remove the affected tissue or implant. The lab studies the behavior of biofilm in vivo and in vitro to develop techniques that stop biofilms from forming, and to treat existing biofilm-based infections.