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 (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.
  8. Includes a one-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

Jennifer Stone, PhD 
Dr. Stone is PD/PI of this Research Training Program. Dr. Stone is a Research Professor, the Director of Research for the Oto-HNS department, 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 NIH R01 grant 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 Neuroscience Graduate Program. 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 the Director for the Imaging Core on the UW’s Communications P30 Grant from NIDCD, whose funding mechanism was discontinued a few years ago. 

Edward M. Weaver, MD, MPH 
Dr. Weaver is the Co-Director of this Research Training Program. He is a Professor of Oto-HNS and the 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 NIH, VA, 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.

Chu Chen, MS, PhD, DABCC
Dr. Chen is Full Member in the Program in Epidemiology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and Affiliate Professor in the UW Epidemiology and Oto-HNS Departments. 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, MD, PhD
Dr. Cunningham is the 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, MD
Dr. Disis is a Professor and a physician-scientist in UW Medical Oncology and a Member of the FHCRC. Dr. Disis is the Associate Dean for Translational Science, PD/PI 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.

William Dobyns, MD 
Dr. Dobyns is a Professor clinician-scientist in Pediatrics and Genetic Medicine at UW and Seattle Childrens’ Research Institute. He is PI on multiple R01 grants studying genetics of neurobiological disorders. He has a close research collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Perkins (Professor of Oto-HNS, Project Mentor) to study the genetics of lymphatic malformations of the head and neck. Dr. Dobyns is currently serving as the Primary Research Mentor for one Resident Research Trainee.

Blake Hannaford, PhD 
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 Oto-HNS, 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, MD
Dr. Horn is an Associate Professor clinician-scientist in Oto-HNS in UW 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 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, MD
Dr. Houghton is an Associate Professor of Medicine and an Associate Member in the Clinical Research and Human Biology Divisions at the FHCRC 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 R01 and U01 grants. Dr. Houghton is currently serving as Primary Research Mentor to one Resident Research Trainee.

Clifford R. Hume, PhD, MD
Dr. Hume is an Associate Professor clinician-scientist in Oto-HNS, with an affiliation in the Neuroscience Graduate Training Program. 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 in Mechanical Engineering is directed towards applying PZT microactuators in cochlear implants and hearing aids. His research was supported by K08 and collaborative grants from NIH/NIDCD and NSF. Dr. Hume has served as a Primary Research Mentor to one Resident Research Trainee.

Mary-Claire King, PhD
Dr. King is a Professor of Medical Genetics and an affiliate of the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center (VMBHRC). 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, PhD
Dr. Perkel is a Professor and Chair of Biology and Professor of Oto-HNS. He directs the UW Auditory Neuroscience Training Program (T32) for PhD predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees, which complements this Otolaryngology Research Training Program (T32) 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, PhD
Dr. Phillips is Research Associate Professor of Oto-HNS. He is an affiliate of the VMBHRC, 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-R01 funded 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.

David W. Raible, PhD
Dr. Raible is Professor of Biological Structure at UW and an Affiliate of the VMBHRC. 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 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.

Jay T. Rubinstein, MD, PhD
Dr. Rubinstein is the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Professor & Director of the VMBHRC, with appointments in Oto-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 Trainees, in one case with Dr. Phillips.

Mark E. Whipple, MD, MS
Dr. Whipple is clinician-scientist in Oto-HNS and Bioinformatic departments. He is the Assistant Dean for Curriculum at the University of Washington 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