Karen Hurley, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

  • Department: Office of Professional Studies in the Health Sciences
  • Education: Ph.D., University of Chicago; B.A. Northwestern University

Dr. Karen "Chava" Hurley has a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Chicago and a BA from Northwestern University. She has completed postdoctoral fellowships at Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, Texas in the Bobby Alford Department of Otolaryngology as well as the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Hurley has appointments in the Office of Professional Studies in the Health Sciences and the Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, within Drexel University College of Medicine. Dr. Hurley teaches courses in undergraduate biology in the Evening Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical program program as well as graduate physiology in the Medical Science Preparatory and Master of Forensic Science programs. In addition, she co-teaches courses in molecular and biochemistry research techniques and anatomy.


Dr. Hurley's research interests focus on using auditory and vestibular hair cells as models of information processing in the nervous system. These cells are particularly attractive model systems for a number of reasons: first, they are excellent, well-studied models of sensory transduction; second, they have an extensive repertoire of ion channels which shape the receptor potential of the hair cell; third, the hair cell itself is a readily accessible pre-synaptic terminal while, type I hair cells in amniotes also have an enlarged post-synaptic element.  This unusual synapse makes studying the mechanisms of synaptic transmission at both the pre- and post-synaptic element tractable; fourth, these cells are easily isolated, making it possible to combine electrophysiological and molecular analyses of the various elements involved at various stages of sensory transduction.

In addition to her academic credentials, Dr. Hurley is a registered patent agent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

In the News

"Graduate School Faculty Awards"
(May 7, 2014)

Contact Information

  • Office of Professional Studies in the Health Sciences
  • 245 N. 15th St., MS 344
  • NCB, Room 4103
  • Philadelphia, PA  19102
  • Phone: 215-762-4096
  • karen.hurley@

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