Peter S. Steyger, PhD

Peter S. Steyger, PhD

Peter S. Steyger, PhD

School of Medicine, Omaha Campus

Academic Appointments


  • Biomedical Sciences


  • Professor


My unique expertise in mechanisms of iatrogenic hearing loss originates from acquiring hearing loss via treatment with the life-saving aminoglycosides when afflicted with bacterial meningitis as an infant. I recognize how critical it is to translate our now wide-ranging collective knowledge in the etiologies of hearing loss and vestibular disorders into efficacious strategies that preserve or restore optimal hearing and vestibular function to maximize the personal goals, familial relationships, friendships and career trajectories of those afflicted with these sensory disorders.  

Publications and Presentations



  • , 9(11)
  • , Jul;5(7)
  • , 11, 482
  • , 15(1), 66-70
  • , 13(11)
  • , 57(sup4), S41-S48

Editing and Reviews


Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • Ototoxicity
    Aminoglycoside-induced toxicity
    Cisplatin-induced toxicity
    Mechanisms of neuro- and cytotoxicity
    Physiology of Blood-Labyrinth Barrier
    Trafficking of drugs and nutrients across blood barriers
    Hearing Loss

Current Research Projects

  • I direct a research laboratory funded by NIH-NIDCD to identify the mechanisms by which circulating ototoxic drugs cross the blood-labyrinth barrier into the cochlear fluids and enter sensory hair cells to induce cytotoxicity that leads to permanent hearing loss.
    As a laboratory, we focus primarily on the trafficking mechanisms utilized by aminoglycoside antibiotics.  We recently identified that inflammation and inflammatory mediators enhance cochlear uptake of aminoglycosides and exacerbates aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss (a-c).  Much of the expertise gained in understanding the mechanisms of aminoglycoside hearing loss have led to analogous studies for the cochleototoxic anti-cancer drug, cisplatin, and further improve our understanding of the mechanisms of cisplatin-induced ototoxicity (d). 
    More recently, we have initiated human studies to determine if (i) clinical evidence of systemic inflammation increases the risk of hearing loss in sick neonates dosed with aminoglycosides, and (ii) whether subpopulations of subjects with cystic fibrosis have a greater genetic susceptibility (or resistance) to aminoglycoside-induced ototoxicity. 
    I am a primary author of multiple nonclinical and human articles that discuss the inflammatory and pharmacogenomic risk factors described above, and are currently under investigation,

    a.     Koo JW, Wang Q, Steyger PS (2011) Infection-mediated vasoactive peptides modulate cochlear uptake of fluorescent gentamicin.  Audiology & Neurotology, 16: 347-358.  PMID 21196726   PMCID:  PMC3023003
    b.     Koo JW, Quintanilla-Dieck L, Jiang M, Liu J, Urdang ZD, Allensworth JJ, Cross CC, Li H, Steyger PS (2015)  Endotoxemia-mediated inflammation potentiates aminoglycoside-induced ototoxicity. Science Translational Medicine 7(298): 298ra118. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aac5546.  PMID:  26223301   PMCID:  PMC4534720
    c.      Jiang M, Li H, Johnson A, Karasawa T, Zhang Y. Meier WB, Taghizadeh F, Kachelmeier A, Steyger PS  (2019)  Inflammation upregulates cochlear expression of TRPV1 to potentiate drug-induced hearing loss  Science Advances 5(7) eaaw1836.  PMID:  31328162   PMCID:  PMC6636990
    d.     Brock P, Knight K, Freyer D, Campbell KCM, Steyger PS, Blakley BW, Rassekh SR, Chang K, Fligor B, Rajput K., Sullivan M, Neuwelt EA (2012) Platinum-induced ototoxicity in children: a consensus review on mechanisms, predisposition and protection including a new SIOP Boston Ototoxicity Scale.  Journal of Clinical Oncology 30(19) 2408-2417 PMID: 22547603   PMCID: PMC3675696

Awards and Honors

  • University Research Award, Creighton University, 2021
  • Keynote Speaker, NCRAR biennial conference, 2019
  • Guest Editor, Frontiers in Celluar Neuroscience, 2018
  • Guest Editor, Frontiers in Celluar Neuroscience, 2018
  • Lead Discussant, Hearing Center of Excellence (DOD), 2016
  • Associate Editor, Frontiers in Medicine - Translational Medicine, 2016