Overview

NIH T-32 Research Training Grant

The rationale for our Research Training Program is to provide an environment that supports the systematic refinement of a physician trainee’s analytical and research skills, and facilitates the potential for a productive research-oriented career in academic medicine.  This is accomplished by:

  1. Selecting individuals with previously demonstrated commitment to biomedical research and who express a commitment to extend their residency training one or two years beyond the five-year norm.
  2. Sustaining and expanding a departmental culture in which research is an integral part of the mission among the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (OtoHNS) faculty, residents and staff.
  3. Exposing and facilitating research involvement throughout the residency period.
  4. Teaching teamwork and acceptance of critical and supportive input from peers and mentors.
  5. Exposing trainees to successful junior faculty role models as well as established senior scientists at each level.
  6. Providing exposure to issues and methodologies at the cutting edge of biomedical fields related to OtoHNS and communication disorders.
  7. Instilling concepts of biomedical ethics and the excitement of lifelong questioning as a source for personal growth and career satisfaction.
  8. Includes a 1-year pre-doctoral medical student research experience.

We also recognize that this is an ongoing process through which we must continually refine the program based on immediate needs and an ongoing evaluation.

Faculty Research Mentors

Below is a listing of our Faculty Principal Investigators.

Greg Davis, MD, MPH
Dr. Davis is Associate Professor of OtoHNS and performs rhinology and endoscopic skull base surgery.  Dr. Davis has ongoing clinical outcomes and translational research projects studying topical therapies to treat chronic rhinosinusitis, treatment for olfactory loss, therapies to treat epistaxis, and is on a grant supporting research on the link between olfactory hypersensitivity and autism spectrum disorders.

Clifford R. Hume, PhD, MD
Dr. Hume is Associate Professor of OtoHNS, with an affiliation in the graduate training program of Neurobiology and Behavior. Dr. Hume's research focuses on developing surgical techniques and reagents for gene therapy of mammalian inner ear tissues and improving cochlear implant performance. His laboratory is collaborating with Dr. Stone’s laboratory to continue studies of hair cell regeneration and with Dr. Bierer’s laboratory to understand the relationship of individual cochlear implant electrode properties to performance. A long-term collaboration with Dr. Shen in Mechanical Engineering is directed towards applications of PZT microactuators in cochlear implants and hearing aids. His lab employs immunofluorescence, digital microscopic imaging, in vitro inner ear culture, adenoviral gene therapy (in vitro and in vivo) and auditory brainstem response testing to explore the role of potential candidate genes in innervation of the cochlea and hearing regeneration. His research is supported by grants from NIH and NSF.

Eduardo Mendez, MD
Dr. Mendez is Associate Professor of OtoHNS and Assistant Member, Clinical Research Division, at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. His research centers on biomarker discovery for classification of head and neck cancer. He currently is focusing his research on analyzing the differential genetic expression between metastatic cells in the lymph nodes with those cells in primary tumors without evidence of metastatic disease, testing for a genetic signature for metastasis and survival. In addition, Dr. Mendez has extensive experience in functional genomics aimed at discovering novel therapeutic targets against head and neck cancer. He is specifically interested in pathways involved in regulating p53 independent synthetic lethality to treat p53 mutant head and neck tumors, which have a greater potential for metastasis and treatment resistance. He collaborates with world-renowned investigators at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and has mentored numerous predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees in his laboratory. Dr. Mendez is supported by the HHMI, American Cancer Society and NIH.

Henry Ou, MD
Dr. Ou is Associate Professor of Pediatric OtoHNS at Seattle Children's Hospital and UW. His research is based at the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center. Dr. Ou has ongoing projects studying hair cell death and protection in the zebrafish lateral line and mouse utricle, hair cell protection, mechanisms of ototoxicity, and cisplatin damage in the inner ear. Trainees can participate in any of the aforementioned projects.

David J. Perkel, PhD
Dr. Perkel has joint appointments as Professor in the Departments of Biology and OtoHNS. His laboratory is located in the OtoHNS Department. He is Co-Director of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience. Dr. Perkel is interested in the detailed cellular mechanisms underlying learning and production of vocal signals. His laboratory uses vocal learning in songbirds as a model system for vocal learning in humans, and also for understanding motor learning in general. One project uses in vitro brain slices to study synaptic mechanisms and plasticity in this system. The goal of this approach is to link cellular and synaptic events with behavior. A second project uses neuroanatomical, electrophysiological, and behavioral approaches to examine a forebrain basal ganglia circuit essential for avian vocal learning. Other projects address mechanisms of steroid-regulated adult vocal plasticity, vocal pattern generation in the forebrain and neuromodulation of auditory processing in mice. The lab is supported by NIH and NSF grants.

James O. Phillips, PhD. Dr. Phillips is Research Associate Professor of OtoHNS. He is an affiliate of the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, the National Primate Research Center, and the Center on Human Development and Disability at UW and the Center for Integrative Brain Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. He directs two clinical laboratories at UW Medical Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Dr. Phillips’ research laboratory studies the development and adaptation of vestibular and oculomotor function. Dr. Phillips is Co-I on an NIH grant to evaluate a prototype vestibular prosthesis in humans and non-human primates. He performs prospective and retrospective studies in children with vestibular and oculomotor disfunction. He is collaborating on projects to evaluate vestibular function in humans, mice and rats following partial recovery from ototoxic lesions, and evaluating novel compounds in animals to prevent ototoxicity. In addition, his research group is studying the use of virtual reality in the treatment of vestibular loss. One resident, five predoctoral students, one masters student, and two undergraduates are currently working with Dr. Phillips on these projects. He participates in graduate education in the Departments of Oto-HNS and Speech & Hearing Sciences.

Jay T. Rubinstein, MD, PhD
Dr. Rubinstein is the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Professor & Director of the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center and Professor of Otolaryngology & Bioengineering. His research focus is signal processing for cochlear implants and development of a vestibular implant. Using animal physiological data, human behavioral experiments and computational modeling techniques, his laboratory has developed novel signal processing strategies and testing procedures for implants that are currently in use worldwide. The goal of this work is to improve speech and music perception with these devices. His research has been funded by NIDCD, Cochlear Corporation, Advanced Bionics, Whitaker Foundation, Coulter Foundation, and philanthropy. His trainees have included visiting medical students and otolaryngologists; students in the UW Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP); graduate students in Bioengineering, Speech & Hearing Sciences and Applied Mathematics; Otolaryngology residents; and PhD postdoctoral fellows.

Jennifer Stone, PhD
Dr. Stone is Research Associate Professor of OtoHNS, with an affiliation in the Graduate Program in Neurobiology and Behavior. Her research focuses on how the sensory regions of the inner ear are specified and patterned during development, how the regeneration of new hair cells and supporting cells is regulated in the mature avian inner ear and the induction of regeneration in the mammalian inner ear. Her lab employs immunofluorescence, in situ hybridization, digital microscopic imaging, cell culture, and gene perturbation (in vitro and in ovo) to explore the role of potential candidate genes in the development and regeneration of sensory tissue of the inner ear. She has served as the Primary Research Mentor to several OtoHNS Resident Research Trainees and other trainees. Her research efforts are supported by grants from NIDCD and collaborative grants from the Hearing Health Foundation.

Bruce L. Tempel, PhD
Dr. Tempel is Professor of Otolaryngology-HNS and Pharmacology. He has always been fascinated by the power of genetics. He cloned the Shaker potassium channel and subsequently cloned the first mammalian voltage gated potassium channel, Kv1.1. Current projects involve ongoing studies of the role of the Kv channels and the plasma membrane calcium ATPase, PMCA2, in auditory transduction and transmission; and identifying genes involved in noise resistance and age-related hearing loss. He has recently extended the lab’s studies to include very high noise exposures, including Blast Over Pressure and testing potential protective novel pharmaceutical agents. Dr. Tempel is funded by grants from NIH and the DoD.

Edward M. Weaver, MD, MPH
Dr. Weaver is Professor of OtoHNS, Director of the OtoHNS Outcomes Research Group, and Director of the T32 research training program. He practices sleep surgery and is Co-Director of the Sleep Center. His research interests are in clinical epidemiology, health services research, and outcomes research of OtoHNS, with a focus on upper airway disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea. He has multiple prospective cohorts of sleep apnea patients used to evaluate medical and surgical treatment outcomes, test predictors of treatment outcomes, and develop better instruments for measuring the condition and outcomes. Dr. Weaver has mentored multiple OtoHNS resident research trainees (6 getting MPH degrees) and other research trainees. His research has been funded by NIH, VA, other government agencies, multiple foundations, and philanthropy.

View our T-32 Affiliate Research Mentors