Researchers at the IU School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery contribute regularly to the creation of new knowledge, understanding and treatments surrounding diseases of the ear, nose and throat. Faculty members in this department study various challenges in this area of medicine, such as understanding how hearing loss affects a child’s developing brain, or how cachexia or unintentional weight loss affects cancer patients.
An area of research affecting both adults and children, otolaryngology provides wide and varied research interests. Scientists in this department are currently researching regenerative medicine, cancer cachexia, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks, inner ear disorders, neurofibromatosis, pediatric airway abnormalities, pediatric cochlear implants, and peripheral nerve regeneration.
Department researchers are employing innovative methods, such as using stem cells to create 3D organoids containing functional inner ear hair cells to better understand the common pathways that lead to hair cell degeneration and potentially find ways to prevent degeneration and hearing loss in the future.
Otolaryngology Research Facilities
The 3D Stem Cell Biology Research Group discovered a three-dimensional (3D) culture method for deriving mini, inner ear organs. From healthy cells, scientists can study deterioration for common hearing loss conditions in hopes of discovering ways to prevent and stop cell degeneration. Investigators are working with National Institutes of Health in order to advance their research toward the regeneration of complex human skin and hair.
A pioneer in cochlear implantation, IU School of Medicine has helped thousands of children and adults with profound deafness since 1978. The DeVault Otologic Research Lab carries out basic and clinical research for the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, primarily investigating the impact of executive function and cognitive development on children and aging adults with cochlear implants and hearing-related issues.
The Laboratory of Molecular Mechanisms of Auditory Perception and Deafness illustrates the physical function of cochlear hair cells and their ability to convert sound stimuli into electrical signals to the nervous system. Researchers aim to reveal functions of deafness-related genes and provide fresh leads for novel treatments in hearing loss through this physiological approach.