Research training is provided throughout the residency. Three months during PGY-3 are dedicated to protected research time. In addition, one to three months of additional protected research time is available during the PGY-4 year. The research rotations are monitored by the Resident Research Committee, which is chaired by the department Director of Research, Dianne Durham, PhD. Generally, data collection is completed during the three month rotation; while data analysis, preparation of presentations, and completion of manuscripts is all done subsequently. Research is performed in the departmental Auditory and Vestibular Neuroscience (AVN) Laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Durham or Dr. Hinrich Staecker. Other research opportunities are also available throughout the Medical Center. During residency, all OTOHNS residents are required to publish a minimum of one manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal.
The AVN laboratory is located in the new, state-of-the-art, Kansas Life Sciences Innovation Center (KLSIC). This laboratory was originally established by Dr. Durham to investigate biochemical and anatomical changes in central auditory neurons following manipulation of peripheral auditory input, but 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 OTOHNS Department employs lab technicians to oversee the day-to-day operation of the lab, and they are available to train residents in histological and molecular techniques. The laboratory is fully equipped for physiology and houses two soundproof booths, 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; including; a core laboratory for molecular biology, which 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 Mental Retardation Research Center has a fully equipped histology laboratory. The facility houses two transmissions and one scanning electron microscope and employs two technicians to manage the facility and prepare tissue samples. An AAALAC-approved animal facility located adjacent to KLSIC, provides veterinary support and housing for research animals, as well as common use procedure rooms for small animal surgery.
The Director of Clinical Research, Kevin Sykes, PhD, MPH, facilitates clinical research projects. Residents 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, case reports, etc. 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 with subject recruitment and study coordination, as well as with database design, data analysis, presentation, and publication of research.
The success of resident and faculty research, in both clinical and basic science, is showcased at the department's annual Alumni Day Research Symposium, held every June. This daylong forum includes research and clinical presentations by third, fourth and fifth year residents. Attendees include clinical and research faculty, residents, alumni, community otolaryngologists, and a nationally renowned OTOHNS guest lecturer. Residents are encouraged to present their projects at a national meeting, such as the annual Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery meeting or the Association for Research in Otolaryngology Mid-Winter meeting.