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 Kevin Sykes, PhD, MPH. Research is performed in the Auditory and Vestibular Neuroscience (AVN) Laboratory, the Head and Neck Oncology Laboratory, and in the Otolaryngology Clinic. 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 Kansas Life Sciences Innovation Center (KLSIC). This laboratory was established by Dianne Durham, PhD to investigate biochemical and anatomical changes in central auditory neurons following manipulation of peripheral auditory input, central mechanisms of tinnitus, avian and mammalian hair cell regeneration, and the use of viral vectors to promote restoration of vestibular function. Hinrich Staecker, MD, PhD also utilizes this space for neurotology basic science research.
Sufi Thomas, PhD established the Head and Neck Oncology Laboratory during the summer of 2013. Dr. Thomas works to understand the biological mechanisms involved in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) progression and to develop effective therapeutic interventions.
The OTOHNS Department employs lab technicians to oversee the day-to-day operation of the labs, and they are available to train residents in histological and molecular techniques. Several institutional facilities supplement the department resources; including; a core laboratory for molecular biology, a microscopy center (with three confocal microscopes, two transmission and one scanning electron microscope). The center 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.
Kevin Sykes, PhD, MPH, the Director of Clinical Research, aids with the development and execution of clinical research projects. Residents are encouraged to participate in prospective and retrospective projects in collaboration with OTOHNS faculty. Research ideas are presented to Dr. Sykes prior to study initiation for assistance with research design and Human Subjects Committee (HSC) submission. Following HSC approval, Dr. 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 second, 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 national meetings, such as the annual Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery meeting, the Association for Research in Otolaryngology Mid-Winter meeting, or the Combined Otolaryngological Spring Meetings.