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Research Opportunities

A three-month research rotation occurs during the third year of residency. Multiple clinical and basic research opportunities are available. The departmental Resident Research Committee assists with the formulation and design of research projects, and research projects are generally funded through University Research Committee (URC) grants.

The Otological Research Laboratories have consistently been in the 90th percentile of funding from the National Institutes of Health for otolaryngology programs. Cochlear function, presbycusis, noise damage, neuroanatomy, and neurophysiology are studied in animals and humans. Clinical Ph.D.s lead the research programs in speech and swallowing, head and neck cancer biology, and cochlear implantation. Clinical protocols in head and neck cancer are under investigation, and tumor biology research is pursued in the Cancer Center. A number of research projects are also underway in the area of sinus and upper respiratory disease.

Overall, the department ranks 10th nationally in NIH funding for Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery departments with more than four million dollars of NIH funding in 2010. Each year, residents are required to complete at least one research project, present at the annual departmental Magnolia Conference, and submit a paper publication.

Guidelines for Research Rotations

During the orientation of residents in July/August of each year, second and third year residents will meet with the department’s Resident Research Committee. The committee will review the department’s research requirements, including the research rotation, and assist residents in selecting a faculty research mentor. Residents will be provided with brief summaries of ongoing or planned projects that have opportunities available for otolaryngology residents to conduct research.

On November 1 of each year, each resident will submit to the Resident Research Committee for review and distribution the following items:

  • “Research Accomplishments” during the past year (summaries of projects completed; abstracts submitted; presentations; and papers submitted, in press, and published)
  • “Research Plans” for the upcoming year (one-page outlines of proposed research projects, including the research rotation project if applicable, and plans for presentation of results, such as abstract submission deadlines and regional/national meetings to be attended). Each year, a required element of the “Research Plans” document is an outline of a research project to be presented at the Magnolia Conference the following June. Documents should be prepared in Word or PowerPoint format suitable for review by the faculty.

Residents prepare outlines of proposed research projects with the guidance and assistance of the faculty member, who is directing the research. Additional assistance is available from members of the Resident Research Committee. Outlines follow the format of a “specific aims” page as would be written for a grant application and include the following: one paragraph of background and rationale, a stated hypothesis, specific aims (usually two to three), and a one-paragraph significance statement.

During the November Resident Research Meeting (third Tuesday at 7 a.m.) attended by faculty and residents, each resident will present the outline of their proposed Magnolia research project in one PowerPoint slide.

The February Resident Research Meeting will include a 10-minute presentation by the resident who completed the July-Sep research rotation and a 10-minute presentation by the resident who completed the Oct-Dec research rotation. All other residents will provide updates on their planned, ongoing, and completed research projects (including proposed research rotation projects and Magnolia), abstract submissions, and meeting presentations with one-slide presentations. The information presented should follow the format of the “Research Plans” document submitted the previous November.

The May Resident Research Meeting will include a 10-minute presentation by the resident who completed the January-March research rotation. All other residents will present five-minute slide summaries of their Magnolia talks.