Advancing Care Through Science

The faculty, fellows and residents of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery are actively engaged in research to better understand diseases affecting the head and neck in a number of disciplines in both adults and children. Studies occur across the translational research spectrum (from bench to bedside) and include molecular and genetic profiles of oral cavity cancer; fundamental knowledge about how our senses of hearing and balance develop, function and degenerate over time; computer-aided skull base surgery; sleep surgery; regenerative techniques for patients with voice, airway, and swallowing disorders; and vascular and lymphatic malformations.

Novel discoveries at the molecular level are translated into new treatments that ultimately inform clinical and population studies. Future studies are designed to better understand disease and to determine how to apply treatments, techniques and technology to improve medical and surgical outcomes and quality of life.

In depth descriptions of current research are included in the linked faculty biographies within our sub-specialty designations.

University Resources

The Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center and the Health Sciences Building at UW house several laboratories conducting basic science and translational research. Within these sites, there are a state-of-the-art imaging center, surgical suites, tissue culture facilities, histology and microtomy suites, and equipment for genetic and molecular analyses, electrophysiological measurements in vivo and in vitro, large-scale drug screening, and detailed auditory and vestibular functional testing.

The Otolaryngology Outcomes Research Group performs clinical research and is based in the UW Comparative Effectiveness, Cost & Outcomes Research Center, an interdisciplinary, multi-school clinical research “laboratory.” These Centers are closely affiliated with the UW School of Public Health and UW Institute of Translational Health.

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center houses laboratories for basic science and translational research, focusing on head and neck cancer, epithelial tumor biology, and viral biology as it relates to carcinogenesis, immunotherapy, and population studies.

There are innumerable other research facilities where departmental and trainee research is performed. For example, Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute houses research programs on vascular anomalies, pediatric communications disorders, and others. The Department of Electrical Engineering at UW houses an engineering research laboratory studying robotic surgical techniques. The Seattle VA Medical Center houses the VA Puget Sound R&D Program and other research programs, and Harborview Medical Center houses the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center and many other research programs.

UW Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP): A unit of the Office of Research at the University of Washington, supports and advises the entire academic community in securing external support for sponsored projects and collaborations. 

Office of Animal Welfare (OAW): Facilitates the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) review of research protocols and grants involving live vertebrate animals. The OAW provides oversight and compliance on behalf of the IACUC in accordance with applicable laws, policies and regulations.

Research involving human subjects must be reviewed by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). At the UW, several IRB committees serve this function. The Human Subjects Division (HSD) provides administrative support, makes regulatory determinations and facilitates IRB review; assisting researchers throughout the process. 

UW Grant and Contract Accounting (GCA): Assists the UW community by facilitating the post award financial aspects of sponsored programs, from budget set-up to close.

Administrative Business Center (ABC) Services: The School of Medicine’s Administrative Business Center provides pre-award support for Primary Investigators for most grant mechanisms. Support includes: preparing funding applications, budget development, compliance review, JIT requests, and annual progress reports. To learn more about how the department works collectively with ABC, reach out to the Oto Grants Liaison, Wendy Parkinson at 206-616-4105 /

The Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) offers an array of resources, services, and tools for investigators, including:

Research Coordinator Center: a multidisciplinary team of research coordinators, regulatory specialists, research nurses, and study monitors who can support the design and conduct of clinical and translational research.

The Bioethics Consultation Service: a forum for in-depth conversation and analysis of ethical issues in clinical and translational research, including advice for researchers, research staff, and personnel involved in protection of human subjects. 

Funding Opportunities

The list below contains links to calls for applications from NIH which have particular relevance to the department. Newest are on top.

12.24.2020. Stephen I. Katz Early Stage Investigator Research Grant Program

The Stephen I. Katz Early Stage Investigator Research Project Grant supports an innovative project that represents a change in research direction for an early stage investigator (ESI) and for which no preliminary data exist. Applications submitted to this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) must not include preliminary data. Applications must include a separate attachment describing the change in research direction.

The proposed project must be related to the programmatic interests of one or more of the participating NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) based on their scientific missions.

This Funding Opportunity Announcement does not accept applications proposing clinical trials.

Training/Resident Researcher

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery CORE Grant funding opportunities: 

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD):