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Research and Clinical Trials
The experts in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery have dedicated themselves to advancing their field through thoughtful and groundbreaking research. Each of our eight research groups works diligently to constantly learn more about their topic and educated the medical community about their findings.
Auditory Anatomy & Physiology
The long-term goals of the Auditory Anatomy and Physiology Lab are to understand neuronal mechanisms that underlie hearing in mammals. In the auditory nervous system, all acoustic information from the environment enters the brain by passing through the auditory nerve and terminating in the cochlear nucleus. The cochlear nucleus serves as the gateway to the central auditory system because it gives rise to all ascending pathways. How auditory information is processed will depend greatly on the structural organization of auditory nerve inputs.
Cochlear Neurotransmission Group
The Cochlear Neurotransmission Group studies the generation and propagation of neural signals in the inner ear. Our laboratories use biophysical, electrophysiological, molecular biological and histological methods to determine fundamental molecular mechanisms by which neurotransmitters are released from primary sensory cells (‘hair cells’) to excite second order neurons carrying information to the brain. We apply these same techniques to study inhibitory feedback produced by brain neurons that project to and regulate the sensitivity of the cochlea.
Head and Neck Cancer Research
Working with the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Head and Neck Cancer Research Division comprises both clinicians and scientists dedicated to eradication of head and neck cancer.
Neural Encoding Lab
Research in the neural encoding laboratory investigates the representation and processing of complex stimuli in the auditory system. One goal is to understand the relationships between the perception of sound and the responses of auditory neurons. Another is to analyze the effects of hearing impairment on the representation and to investigate signal processing for neural prostheses.
Ocular Motor Physiology Lab
Our research is directed toward how the brain controls the movements of the eyes (including eye movements induced by head motion) using studies in normal human beings, patients and experimental animals. The focus is on mechanisms underlying adaptive ocular motor control. More specifically, what are mechanisms by which the brain learns to cope with the changes associated with normal development and aging as well as the damage associated with disease and trauma?
Vestibular Neurophysiology Lab
The mission of the laboratory of vestibular neurophysiology is to advance the understanding of how the body perceives head motion and maintains balance - a complex and vital function of everyday life. Work in this lab seeks to define the physiology of the vestibular system, which informs the brain about the body's motion and orientation.
Vestibular NeuroEngineering Lab
Researchers at the Vestibular NeuroEngineering Lab have shown that a damaged sense of balance can be restored effectively with a multichannel vestibular prosthesis device implanted in the inner ear. Their work aims to help the tens of thousands of people who suffer from severe loss of vestibular sensation due to genetic defects, drug reactions, Ménière’s disease, viral infection or other inner ear diseases.
The following clinical trials are currently being offered by the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.