Dr. Howard House, founder of the House Ear Institute and House Ear Clinic often uses the analogy of planting a seed when referring to establishing the House Ear Institute in 1946. Two grateful patients of Dr. House put forth the idea that his knowledge and innovative skills could be used to expand the understanding of hearing impairment and its treatment. Those two early patients provided the "seed money" to begin the Institute. Since that time, the growth has been phenomenal- from a one-man laboratory to a multidisciplinary facility boasting over 175 scien- tists, physicians, and support staff, all dedicated to the advancement of otologic research and education. Six years ago after a half-century of remarkable success with prosthetic and device research, the Institute began cultivating a new field of endeavor-cell and molecular biology. Don Nielsen, then the Institute's Executive Vice President for Research and Scientific Director, began exploring the potential for hair cell regen- eration and presented his ideas to the Board of Trustees. For a period of six months, we did a lot of fact finding to assess what role the Institute might take in this excit- ing new field.