Request for Information (RFI): Inviting Input and Suggestions Regarding NIDCD’S Support of Human Temporal Bone Resources and Research Activities

Notice Number: NOT-DC-20-005

Key Dates
Release Date: April 13, 2020
Response Date: July 01, 2020

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)



This Notice is a Request for Information (RFI) inviting input and suggestions from stakeholders throughout the scientific research, advocacy, and clinical practice communities on NIDCD’s support of human temporal bone resources and research activities.


In pursuit of its mission, NIDCD supports basic, translational, clinical and outcomes research on hearing and balance, in normal and diseased states, including basic cellular/molecular biology and genetics research in neuroplasticity, neurodevelopment, neurodegeneration, and studies aimed at detection, prevention, and treatment of otological and neurotological diseases and disorders. The human middle and inner ear are unusually hard to study as the ear is encased in the dense temporal bone of the skull; moreover, the soft tissues cannot be readily accessed by routine biopsy or other techniques on living subjects. The value of otopathology in understanding ear diseases and disorders is without question, yet studies of human auditory and vestibular tissues are limited by the uneven quality of preservation and preparation of donated post-mortem specimens. These restrictions seriously limit progress in understanding pathology of the organs of hearing and balance in humans.

To facilitate human temporal bone research, NIDCD supports two resources for scientific researchers through cooperative agreement awards. The NIDCD National Temporal Bone, Hearing, Balance Pathology Resource Registry (, housed at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, serves to recruit new temporal bone donors, coordinates the procurement of the donated specimens upon death of the donor, and maintains an extensive searchable database of existing temporal bone specimens. The NIDCD Temporal Bone Laboratory at UCLA ( is a resource for researchers to obtain human temporal bone specimens and assistance with techniques for handling and staining the specimens.

Information Requested:

Please respond by identifying what you consider to be the major needs of the NIDCD research and clinical communities in regards to the use of human temporal bones; in particular, please focus on needs that could be addressed by NIDCD through grants, contracts, expertise, or resources. The input requested includes, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • Human temporal bone donor registration
  • Human temporal bone procurement
  • Processing and/or storage of human temporal bones
  • Availability of human temporal bones for scientific research or clinical questions
  • Workforce development for human temporal bone processing
  • Data sharing
  • Technical opportunities and/or impediments in regards to the use of human temporal bones

Submitting a Response:

All responses to this RFI must be submitted via email to by July 01, 2020. Please include the Notice number in the subject line of your response. Response to this RFI is voluntary.

This request is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. Please note that the United States Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for its use of that information.

The NIDCD will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder’s submission. No proprietary, classified, confidential or sensitive information should be included in your response. Responses will be compiled and shared internally with NIDCD staff and may be shared with the NDCD Advisory Council or other scientific expert groups convened by NIDCD. In all cases where responses are shared, the names of the respondents will be withheld.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Janet L. Cyr, Ph.D.
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Telephone: 301-402-3458