NIH T-32 Research Training Grant

Our program provides intensive research training to residents in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery (four per year) and to medical students (one per year). We have created 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. For our residents, this includes a commitment to extend their residency training one or two years beyond the five-year norm. For our medical students, this entails taking a full year away from medical school, usually after MS2 or MS3.
  2. Sustaining and expanding a departmental culture in which research is an integral part of the mission among the otolaryngology-head and neck surgery (Oto-HNS) 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 Oto-HNS and communication disorders.
  7. Instilling concepts of biomedical ethics and the excitement of lifelong questioning as a source for personal growth and career satisfaction.

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.

T32 Application Process

All residents who enter our clinical training program are automatically enrolled in the T32 training program.

Medical students who are interested in applying for T32 training should contact the program director early in the academic year before the proposed research training (autumn). The program director will help identify a mentor for your research training and guide you through the application process. The application is due February 1. Preference is given to students enrolled in the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Additional Opportunities for Research Training

For undergraduate and medical students interested in exploring additional research opportunities with our department, please contact Dr. Jennifer Stone (stoner@uw.edu) and Dr. John Dahl (John.Dahl@seattlechildrens.org).

Faculty Research Mentors:

Jennifer Stone, Ph.D.,
Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center (stoner@uw.edu)
Dr. Stone is the program director/principal investigator (PD/PI) of this T32 research training program. She is a research professor and director of research in the Department of Otlaryngology-HNS and an affiliate of the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center. Her time is devoted 100% to research. Dr. Stone’s lab studies degeneration and regeneration of auditory and vestibular hair cells and associated nerves and functional recovery after hair cell regeneration. She is currently the PI on one collaborative R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a co-PI on two grants from the Hearing Restoration Project, a Hearing Health Foundation-funded research consortium. She has held R01-level funding since 1998. Dr. Stone has been engaged in the department’s T32 training program for nearly 20 years. She is one of three PIs who manage the trainee grant facilitation program. Dr. Stone has trained several graduate students and a postdoctoral fellow in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience. All of these trainees have continued with academic training or currently hold academic positions. Dr. Stone mentored three medical students during year-long research projects in her lab – one as a Howard Hughes Fellow and two supported by this T32. Dr. Stone served as director for the Imaging Core on the UW P30 Research Core Center Grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), whose funding mechanism was discontinued a few years ago. 

Edward M. Weaver, M.D., M.P.H.,
Harborview Medical Center
Dr. Weaver is the co-director of this research training program. He is a professor of otolaryngology-HNS and director of the Oto-HNS Outcomes Research Group.  His research interests are in clinical epidemiology, health services research, and outcomes research of Oto-HNS, with a focus on obstructive sleep apnea. He has been funded by the NIH, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, other federal grants, foundation grants, institutional support, and gifts. He has served as the primary research mentor to seven Oto-HNS residents on the T32 grant.

Alberto Aliseda, Ph.D.
Dr. Aliseda is the PACCAR Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Aliseda's research and teaching focuses on fluid mechanics with applications to energy, environmental, and biomedical flows. In particular, he is interested in the dynamics of multiphase flows, such as bubbles in water and droplets in air. This type of flows arise in many engineering and environmental problems such as the exchange of gases between the atmosphere and the ocean, the formation of rain drops in clouds, the atomization of liquids in combustion and manufacturing processes and the dynamics of microbubbles injected in the human circulation to enhance ultrasound imaging and therapeutic use.

James T. Bennett, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Bennett is an assistant professor of pediatrics and is the assistant medical director of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory at Seattle Childrens. The Bennett lab investigates the contribution of post-zygotic mutations on human development and birth defects, with a focus on vascular malformations. We also study the impact of rapid diagnostic genomic sequencing in management of children in intensive care units.

Slobodan Beronja, Ph.D.
Dr. Beronja is an associate professor in the Human Biology Division at Fred Hutch. Dr. Beronja's laboratory studies molecular and cellular mechanisms that are essential for tissue growth during development and tumorigenesis. His goal is to identifying genes and gene pathways that can be used as targets in cancer therapy with a particular focus on the regulators of the balance between stem cell renewal and differentiation.

Chu Chen, MS, Ph.D., DABCC
Dr. Chen is a professor of epidemiology in the Public Health Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch) and an affiliate professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Otolaryngology-HNS. She directs an interdisciplinary research program in molecular and epidemiologic studies of oral and head and neck cancers in a laboratory environment that offers students and residents an opportunity to conduct studies that further the understanding of the etiology, progression, and outcomes of these cancers. Dr. Chen mentored three Oto-HNS resident research trainees in head and neck cancer research, and she collaborated extensively with the late Dr. Mendez when he joined the faculty. She is supported by several NIH grants.

Michael Cunningham, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Cunningham is professor and chief of the Division of Craniofacial Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics and medical director of Seattle Children’s Craniofacial Center. He holds adjunct appointments in the Departments of Biological Structure, Oral Health Sciences and Pediatric Dentistry. His research focuses on the molecular genetics and developmental pathogenesis of craniofacial conditions with a primary focus on craniosynostosis. His laboratory has been funded through federal, foundation and gift grants since 1993. Dr. Cunningham currently serves as a research mentor for one resident research trainee.

Mary L. “Nora” Disis, M.D.
Dr. Disis is a professor and physician-scientist in the Division of Medical Oncology and a professor in the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutch. Dr. Disis is associate dean for translational science, program director/principal investigator of the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (NIH UL1 Clinical & Translational Science Award) with multiple integrated research training programs, and recipient of many NIH research and program project awards. She also directs the UW Medicine Cancer Vaccine Institute which is focused on the development of tumor antigen specific vaccines for the prevention of cancer and cancer relapse. Major projects include: (1) vaccine development and antigen identification including using high throughput screening techniques to identify immunogenic proteins that may be useful in the primary prevention and treatment of cancer via vaccines, (2) developing methods of adoptive T-cell therapy using vaccine primed cells for the treatment and control of advanced stage cancers, and (3) biomarker development including proteomics and genomics and the use high throughput techniques to assess adaptive immune  function and antigen specificity to assess cancer prognosis and cancer diagnostics. Dr. Disis is currently serving as the primary research mentor for one resident research trainee.

Emily Gallagher, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Gallagher is an assistant professor of pediatrics and practices at the Craniofacial Center at Seattle Childrens. Dr. Gallagher's research focuses on improving standards of care and outcomes for craniofacial conditions. She is interested in identifying developmental and educational challenges that may be associated with specific craniofacial conditions and developing interventions to improve learning for these patients. 

Blake Hannaford, Ph.D
Dr. Hannaford is a professor of electrical and computer engineering and directs the UW Biorobotics Lab. He has developed a team of engineers with specialized software, analytical skills, and expertise in robotics, control, open source software and real time 3D graphics. He has over $4M of current or completed research projects and has a close research collaboration with Dr. Kris Moe (professor of otolaryngology-HNS and a research project mentor) since 2010. Dr. Hannaford has served as primary research mentor for several resident research trainees in collaboration with Drs. Moe and Davis.

David Horn, M.D.
Dr. Horn is an associate professor clinician-scientist in the Department of Otolaryngology-HNS and Seattle Childrens’ Hospital and has an affiliation in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. He is funded by a NIDCD K23 Award and other research funds. His research concerns how hearing acuity develops in hearing impaired children who receive a cochlear implant during infancy and how this acuity affects later spoken-language development. Dr. Horn has served as a primary research mentor to two predoctoral trainees in collaboration with Dr. Jay Rubinstein, and he is currently the primary research mentor for one resident research trainee.

A. McGarry Houghton, M.D.
Dr. Houghton is a professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine and a professor in the Clinical Research and Human Biology Divisions at Fred Hutch where he is the deputy director for lung cancer research. His research is focused on the study of innate immune cells within the tumor microenvironment and how they function to derail otherwise effective immune responses. His projects are supported by his NIH-funded R01 and U01 grants. Dr. Houghton is currently serving as primary research mentor to one resident research trainee.

Clifford R. Hume, Ph.D., M.D.
Dr. Hume is an associate professor clinician-scientist in the Department of Otolaryngology-HNS, with an affiliation in the Graduate Training Program in Neuroscience. Dr. Hume's research focuses on developing surgical techniques and reagents for gene therapy of mammalian inner ear tissues and improving cochlear implant performance. A long-term collaboration with Dr. Steve Shen, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is directed towards applying PZT microactuators in cochlear implants and hearing aids. Dr. Hume's research was supported by K08 and collaborative grants from the NIH/NIDCD and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Hume has served as a primary research mentor to one resident research trainee.

Mary-Claire King, Ph.D.
Dr. King is a professor of medical genetics and an affiliate of the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center. Her research interest is discovery and characterization of genes responsible for complex human conditions. Her approaches are human genetics, genomics, and modeling in cells and simple organisms. Since 1991, Dr, King has carried out NIH-supported research to discover genes responsible for human hearing loss. She is active in graduate education in the Department of Genome Sciences and as associate director of the Medical Sciences Training Program. She is currently serving as primary research mentor for a predoctoral medical student trainee.

David Perkel, Ph.D.
Dr. Perkel is a professor in the Department of Biology and the Department of Otolaryngology-HNS. He directs the UW Auditory Neuroscience Training Program (T32) for PhD predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees, which complements this otolaryngology research training program for MD predoctoral and postdoctoral clinician-scientist trainees. He is interested in the detailed cellular mechanisms underlying learning and production of vocal signals, with the primary goal of linking cellular and synaptic events with behavior, supported by NIH and NSF grants. He is also studying mechanisms of bipedal upright posture in birds. He has served as primary research mentor to one resident research trainee.

James O. Phillips, Ph.D.
Dr. Phillips is a research professor of otolaryngology-HNS. 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. He directs two clinical laboratories at UW and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Dr. Phillips’ research laboratory studies the development and adaptation of vestibular and oculomotor function. He is also co-PI on an NIH-funded R01 project to develop and evaluate a combined vestibular and cochlear prosthesis technology in humans and monkeys. Dr. Phillips has served as primary research mentor for two resident research trainees, in collaboration with Drs. Rubinstein and Moe.

Paul Phillips, Ph.D.
Dr. Phillips is a professor of psychiatry and benavioral sciences. His lab’s focus is reward processing, how it differs under behavior phenotypes that are more vulnerable or resilient to mental illness and how it is changed by psychiatric pathology. Its primary focus is dopamine transmission and the circuits in which it participates.

David W. Raible, Ph.D.
Dr. Raible is the Professor and Virginia Merrill Bloedel Chair in Basic Hearing Science. He is also a joint professor in the Department of Biological Structure and adjunct professor in the Departments of Biology and Genome Sciences. His research focuses on mechanosensory hair cell death and regeneration in the zebrafish lateral line system. Using a combination of genetics, small molecule screening and live imaging techniques, he and his colleagues have uncovered pathways involving hair cell death and potential pathways to therapy. He has served as a primary research mentor to several past resident research trainees and one predoctoral medical student trainee, in collaboration with Dr. Ed Rubel. His research is funded by grants from NIDCD and the Hearing Health Foundation.

Christina Rodriguez, M.D.
Dr. Rodriguez is a professor of medical oncology. She is also a professor in the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutch and a hematologist/oncologist at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Dr. Rodriguez researches and treats cancers of the head and neck. She leads clinical trials that explore how to incorporate targeted therapies into current treatment standards and has a particular interest in improving outcomes for squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, salivary gland cancers and thyroid cancers that no longer respond to radioactive iodine therapy. She also explores ways to reduce racial and economic disparities for these cancers, many of which involve modifiable risk factors such as smoking, alcohol and human papillomavirus infections.

Jay T. Rubinstein, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Rubinstein is the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Professor & Director, with appointments in the Departments of Otolaryngology-HNS and Bioengineering. His research focuses on signal processing for cochlear implants and development of vestibular implants. His laboratory developed novel signal processing strategies and testing procedures for implants that are in use worldwide. His research has been funded by NIDCD, Cochlear Corporation, Advanced Bionics, and private gifts. Dr. Rubinstein has served as a primary research mentor for two resident research trainees, in one case with Dr. Phillips.

Steve Schwartz, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Schwartz is a professor of epidemiology and a professor in the Public Health Sciences Division at Fred Hutch. He is an epidemiologist whose research covers a broad range of molecular, biochemical, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can affect the development of cancer. A major objective of his research is to determine the influence of genetics on disease risk, either alone or in combination with lifestyle and environmental risk factors. His projects include studies of risk factors for human papillomavirus-related cancers and testicular germ-cell tumors, and of molecular markers for outcomes among patients with oral cancer. He also studies the health and well-being of adolescent and young-adult cancer survivors, particularly issues involving fertility preservation.

Ruikang Wang, Ph.D.
Dr. Wang is a professor of bioengineering and ophthalmology and is the WRF/David and Nancy Auth Innovator of Bioengineering. His laboratory is dedicated to developing novel and clinically useful biomedical imaging techniques for early diagnosis, treatment and management of human diseases. 

Mark E. Whipple, M.D., M.S.
Dr. Whipple is a clinician-scientist in the Departments of Otolaryngology-HNS and Bioinformatics. He is assistant dean for curriculum at the UW School of Medicine. Dr. Whipple studies probabilistic models of head and neck cancer spread using machine learning techniques, clinical databases, and anatomic ontologies. He also is studying the use of machine learning on recorded voice data to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of laryngeal disorders. He has served as the primary research mentor for two resident research trainees.

View our T-32 Potential Primary Mentors and Research Project Mentors