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Dr. George Nager arrived at Johns Hopkins in 1952 from his native Switzerland, where he completed his university and medical degrees. The son of an otolaryngologist, he came here for a second residency and began working closely with Stacy Rufus Guild, an associate professor of otolaryngology and an internationally known expert on the inner ear. Together, the two worked to expand America’s first temporal bone collection from autopsies. This repository of temporal bones, in which the inner ear is housed, led to a wealth of new discoveries about diseases that affect this anatomy.
Over the course of his career, Nager made significant contributions to a variety of ear disorders both common and rare, including osteosclerosis, an abnormal bone growth in the middle ear that can lead to hearing loss, and Minor’s syndrome, a thinning or absence of the temporal bone that can cause hearing and balance problems. He became chair of the department in 1969, a role he held until his retirement in 1984. Dr. George Nager was succeed by Dr. Michael M.E. Johns as chairman.
Even then, Nager didn’t rest on his laurels; he continued to conduct research on inner ear diseases that affect hearing and equilibrium. He maintained memberships in the American Otological Society, which restricts membership to 100 living members, and the Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum, a society that accepts only 20 clinical members from the United States.