Thanos Tzounopoulos, PhD
Endowed Professor of Auditory Physiology

Dr. Bell
Dr. Tzounopoulos is Professor and Vice Chair of Research, Department of Otolaryngology, Director, Pittsburgh Hearing Research Center

Office Location:
Biomedical Science Tower 3 Room 3017
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-383-8626

Research Interests

Over the past 20 years, my research has been focused on the synaptic and intrinsic properties, and plasticity and pathology of auditory circuits and neurons. We have discovered novel cellular and molecular mechanisms in the auditory brainstem and cortex, as well as their effects during normal and pathological auditory processing in animal models of hearing loss and tinnitus. Moreover, we are currently pursuing histopathological studies in the cochlea, drug discovery and development towards clinical trials and commercialization of our developed compounds for treating tinnitus and hearing loss.

Selected Publications

  1. Rebecca F. Krall, Aubin Moutal, Matthew B. Phillips, Hila Asraf, Jon W. Johnson, Rajesh Khanna, Michal Hershfinkel, Elias Aizenman, and Thanos Tzounopoulos (2020). Synaptic Zinc Inhibition of NMDA Receptors Depends on the Association of GluN2A with the Zinc Transporter ZnT1 (Science Advances 2020, Accepted)
  2. Stylianos Kouvaros, Manoj Kumar, and Thanos Tzounopoulos (2020). Synaptic Zinc Enhances Inhibition Mediated by Somatostatin, but not Parvalbumin, Cells in Mouse Auditory Cortex. (Cerebral Cortex 2020, 2020 Feb 24. pii: bhaa005. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhaa005. [Epub ahead of print)
  3. Thanos Tzounopoulos, Carey Balaban, Lori Zitelli, and Catherine Palmer (2019). Towards a Mechanistic-Driven Precision Medicine Approach for Tinnitus. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2019 Apr;20(2):115-131. doi: 10.1007/s10162-018-00709-9. Epub 2019 Mar 1.
  4. Kumar M, Xiong S, Tzounopoulos T, Anderson CT (2019). Fine Control of Sound Frequency Tuning and Frequency Discrimination Acuity by Synaptic Zinc Signaling in Mouse Auditory Cortex. J Neurosci. 2019 Jan 30;39(5):854-865. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1339-18.2018
  5. Liu R, Tzounopoulos T, Wipf P. Synthesis and Optimization of Kv7 (KCNQ) Potassium Channel Agonists: The Role of Fluorines in Potency and Selectivity. ACS Med Chem Lett. 2019 May 8;10(6):929-935. doi: 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.9b00097. eCollection 2019 Jun 13.
  6. Anderson CT, Kumar M, Xiong S, Tzounopoulos T (2017). Cell-specific Gain Modulation by Synaptically Released Zinc in Cortical Circuits of Audition. Elife. 2017 Sep 9;6. pii: e29893. doi: 10.7554/eLife.29893.
  7. Kumar M, Reed N, Liu R, Aizenman E, Wipf P, Tzounopoulos T (2016). Synthesis and Evaluation of Potent KCNQ2/3-specific Channel Activators. Mol Pharmacol. 2016 Mar 22. pii: mol.115.103200.
  8. Li S., Kalappa B.I, and Tzounopoulos T (2015) Noise-Induced Plasticity of KCNQ2/3 and HCN Channels Underlies Vulnerability and Resilience to Tinnitus. Elife 2015;10.7554/eLife.07242.
  9. Bopanna I. Kalappa, Heun Soh, Kevin Duignan, Takeru Furuya, Scott Edwards, Anastassios V.Tzingounis and Thanos Tzounopoulos (2015). Potent KCNQ2/3-specific channel activator suppresses in vivo epileptic activity and prevents the development of tinnitus. Journal of Neuroscience, 2015 Jun 10;35(23):8829-42.
  10. Charles T. Anderson, Robert J. Radford, Daniel Y. Zhang, Ulf-Peter Apfel, Stephen J. Lippard, Thanos Tzounopoulos (2015). Modulation of Extrasynaptic NMDA Receptors by Synaptic and Tonic Zinc. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2015 May 19;112(20): E2705-14. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1503348112. Epub 2015 May 6.
  11. Li S., Choi V., and Tzounopoulos T (2013). Pathogenic Plasticity of Kv7.2/3 Channel Activity is Essential for the Induction of Tinnitus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (PNAS), 2013 June 11; 110 (24) 9980-9985.