The Auditory and Vestibular Neuroscience (AVN) laboratory for the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery is located in the new Kansas Life Sciences Innovation Center, a 205,000 square foot research facility that was completed in November of 2006. Within the AVN laboratory are facilities for small animal surgery, recording of auditory evoked potentials, histological tissue processing and light microscopy, standard molecular biological methods, and tissue culture. In addition to facilities within our departmental laboratory, core facilities around the Medical Center are readily available. These include state-of-the-art confocal and electron microscopes, laser capture microdissection equipment, microarray and bioinformatics core facilities, as well as an array of imaging and behavioral analysis core services offered through the Kansas Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (KIDDRC).
The AVN laboratory is located in the new, state-of-the-art, Kansas Life Sciences Innovation Center (KLSIC). The AVN laboratory was originally established by Dr. Durham to investigate biochemical and anatomical changes in central auditory neurons following manipulation of peripheral auditory input. The laboratory research has expanded to include central mechanisms of tinnitus, avian and mammalian hair cell regeneration, and the use of viral vectors to promote restoration of vestibular function. The laboratory is fully equipped for physiology, and houses two soundproof booths. It has equipment for controlled noise exposure to laboratory animals, as well as equipment for measuring auditory evoked potentials and otoacoustic emissions.
Several institutional facilities supplement the department resources. These facilities include a core laboratory for molecular biology that contains equipment for RNA and DNA analysis, PCR, in situ hybridization, and gene chip microarray analysis. Additionally, there is a microscopy center with three new confocal microscopes, and an imaging center for preparation of digital posters and other graphics. The Kansas Intellectual and Developmental Research Center (KIDDRC) has a fully equipped histology laboratory. The KIDDRC facility houses two transmission and one scanning electron microscope, and employs two technicians to manage the facility and to prepare tissue samples. Adjacent to KLSIC, an AAALAC-approved animal facility provides veterinary support and housing for research animals, as well as common-use procedure rooms for small animal surgery, including microvascular dissection surgery.
The Director of Clinical Research, Kevin Sykes, facilitates clinical research projects. Fellows are encouraged to participate in prospective and retrospective projects in collaboration with OTOHNS faculty. Some retrospective projects are accomplished during clinical rotations and often involve chart reviews or case reports. Research ideas should be presented to Mr. Sykes prior to study initiation for assistance with research design and Human Subjects Committee (HSC) submission. Following HSC approval, Mr. Sykes assists residents, fellows and faculty with subject recruitment, study coordination, database design, data analysis, presentation of findings, and publication of research.