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2020 CORE Grant Recipients

2020 CORE Grant Recipients

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF)

AAO-HNSF Resident Research Grant

Michael Bobian, MD

Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Project Title: Central memory T cells in oral cavity cancer for enhanced antitumor immunity

Michael Bobian, MD is a rising fourth year resident in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina. After earning his B.S. in Biological Sciences at Michigan Technological University, he completed his medical school training at Wayne State University School of Medicine. With co-mentorship by David Neskey, MD, MSCR and Chrystal Paulos, PhD, his research aims to define the role of central memory T-cells in oral cavity cancer and how manipulation of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes can be used to optimize T cell function for use in next-generation immunotherapies.  

Elizabeth Boscoe, MD

University of Colorado, Aurora, CO
Project Title: Laser Stapedotomy Trauma: Intracochlear Pressures and Effects on Hearing

Elizabeth Boscoe is a rising fourth year resident in the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Colorado. She is a Colorado native and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in speech, language and hearing sciences and psychology where she graduated with distinction. She attended medical school at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Her research, under the mentorship of Dr. Nate Greene and Dr. Sam Gubbels, will focus on intracochlear pressures and quantifying potential intracochlear trauma incurred during laser stapedotomy. 

Virginia Drake, MD

Johns Hopkins University-School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Project Title: Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis: Risk Factors and HPV Immune Response

Virginia Drake is a fourth year resident in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. She grew up in Seattle, Washington, earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University, and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine magna cum laude. She is looking forward to exploring novel behavioral risk factors and immunological responses of those with HPV-related disease of the upper aerodigestive tract, including adult & juvenile-onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis and HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer.

Susan Ellsperman, MD

The Regents of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Project Title: E2 and DNA Repair Mechanisms in the Pathogenesis of HPV+ Oropharynx SCC

Susan Ellsperman is a rising fourth year resident in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Michigan. She obtained her B.S. in Biology from the University of Southern Indiana where she graduated summa cum laude. She then earned her medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine where she was elected into AOA. Her current research aims to investigate the role of E2 as a biomarker in HPV-associated oropharynx squamous cell carcinoma. 

Shekhar Gadkaree, MD

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA
Project Title: Geographic and Socioeconomic Barriers To Access to Care in Otolaryngology

Originally from Big Flats, New York, Dr. Gadkaree received his degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Rochester where he graduated summa cum laude and was awarded the Robert Wells Award for achieving the highest academic standing in the department. He went on to attend medical school at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he was elected into AOA. Dr. Gadkaree has focused research efforts in the areas of surgical technique innovation, access to care disparities and shared decision making, and biomedical engineering advancements.

Carlos Green, MD

Miller School of Medicine of the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
Project Title: TrkB Inhibition and Perineural Invasion in HNSCC

Carlos Green, MD is an Otolaryngology resident and T32 research scholar at the University of Miami / Jackson Memorial Hospital. During his medical school training at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, he completed a predoctoral T32 research year at the University of Washington investigating pharmacologic targets in head and neck cancer.  During residency, he completed his postdoctoral T32 research on the neurotoxic effects of cisplatin chemotherapy on taste perception.  He is an aspiring academic head and neck cancer surgeon with a strong research interest in the intersection of neurophysiology and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Ioan Lina, MD

Johns Hopkins University-School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Project Title: Defining fibroblasts in diabetic patients with laryngotracheal stenosis

Ioan Lina, MD is a rising fourth-year resident in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins. In 2012, he graduated from the Johns Hopkins University with a degree in biomedical engineering and later obtained his MD from University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2017 where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha and Gold Honor Humanism Honor Societies. As a T32 funded research-tract resident, he is currently working in the laboratory of Dr. Alexander Hillel. His research specifically focuses on investigating innovative therapeutics, biomaterials and understanding the pathophysiology of laryngotracheal stenosis.

Michael Sylvester, MD

The Regents of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Project Title: Post-Transcriptional Regulation by HuR in CRSwNP

Michael John Sylvester is a rising PGY-4 resident in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Michigan and is also a current T32 research fellow. He obtained his A.B. in psychology from Princeton University and his M.D. from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, where he was elected into the AOA Honor Society. His current research aims to advance understanding of the posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms contributing to the development and persistence of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis with the further aim of identifying new potential therapeutics.

Yanjun Xie, MD

The Regents of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Project Title: Investigation of SARM1 in Facial Nerve Degeneration

Johnny (Yanjun) Xie obtained his bachelor’s degree in public health studies from the Johns Hopkins University and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He completed his medical school at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is currently a third-year resident in the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Michigan. Under the mentorship of Drs. Michael Brenner, Eva Feldman, and Norman Hogikyan, his research focuses on identifying the potential role of a regulator protein in facial nerve injury and understanding the molecular pathophysiology of facial paralysis. 

AAO-HNSF Health Services Research Grant

Phayvanh Pecha, MD

Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Project Title: Determining Rural Health Disparities in Pediatric Sleep-Disordered Breathing

Phayvanh Pecha is an Assistant Professor at the Medical University of South Carolina where she finished her fellowship in pediatric otolaryngology and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health. She completed her M.D. at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and her residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Utah. She is a health services researcher with a focus on disparities and access to surgical care for children with sleep-disordered breathing.

AAO-HNSF Bobby R. Alford Endowed Research Grant

Sidharth Puram, MD, PhD

Washington University in St.Louis, St. Louis, MO
Project Title: A partial epithelial-to-mesenchymal signature for predicting nodal metastas

Dr. Sid Puram graduated from MIT, followed by an MD‐PhD at Harvard Medical School with doctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. Azad Bonni. He went on to residency at Harvard/Massachusetts Eye and Ear with an in‐folded postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Bradley Bernstein at MIT Broad/Massachusetts General. Thereafter, he complete a surgical oncology/microvascular free flap fellowship at the James Cancer Center at Ohio State University. Dr. Puram is currently an Assistant Professor and Head and Neck Surgeon at Washington University in St. Louis, where his group focuses on genetic, transcriptional, and epigenetic heterogeneity in head and neck cancer and its relationship to cancer phenotypes.

AAO-HNSF Maureen Hannley Research Award

Matthew Naunheim, MD, MBA

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA
Project Title: False Vocal Fold Tracking Using a Machine Learning Algorithm

Dr. Matthew Naunheim, MD, MBA, is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a fellowship-trained laryngologist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. He has deep clinical interests in benign and malignant disease of the larynx, laryngeal reinnervation, and transgender voice surgery. Dr. Naunheim is on the forefront of research in patient preference assessment and econometric modeling of decision-making, both of which are informed by his training at Harvard Business School. Using machine learning algorithms, his research group is developing computer vision tools to track laryngeal motion on laryngoscopy, with the goal of establishing objective outcome measures in laryngology.

AAO-HNSF Rande H. Lazar Health Services Research Grant

Sherise Epstein, MD, MPH

University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA
Project Title: Predicting disability declassification in deaf children: a population study

Sherise Epstein is a second-year resident in the Department of Otolaryngology-HNS at the University of Washington. She studied medicine in the Program in Medical Education (PRIME)-Health Equity at UC San Diego, where she was awarded the John and Lola Ross Award in the Sciences and Culture of Medicine in 2018. She studied quantitative methods at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she was awarded a Horace W. Goldsmith Fellowship from 2016-2017. She will work with David Horn, MD, to evaluate special education outcomes among children with severe to profound hearing loss during her T32 research fellowship next year.

American Head and Neck Society (AHNS)

AHNS Alando J. Ballantyne Resident Research Pilot Grant

Janice Farlow, MD, PhD

The Regents of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Project Title: Integrated Bioinformatics Analysis of Immune Biomarkers in Oral Cancer

Janice L. Farlow is a fourth year resident in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Michigan. After graduating summa cum laude from Indiana University Bloomington, she matriculated into the Medical Scientist Training Program at Indiana University. Her graduate research centered on identifying genetic variants associated with complex neurological disease using high-throughput sequencing. Her current research, under the mentorship of Dr. Steven Chinn, focuses on characterizing immunologic signatures in oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma to understand mechanisms for immunosuppression and to develop prognostic and predictive biomarkers.

Albert Han, MD, PhD

The Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Project Title: Tumor immune microenvironment in HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer

Dr. Albert Han is a resident physician in Head and Neck Surgery at UCLA Medical Center. He received a BA in Computer Science from UC Berkeley and completed his MD/PhD through the Medical Scientist Training Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His research interests include the tumor immune microenvironment of head and neck cancers as well as tumor neurobiology of oral cavity cancers. Dr. Han plans to pursue a fellowship in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology and Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery.

AHNS/AAO-HNSF Translational Innovator Combined Award

Daniel Faden, MD

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA
Project Title: Blood Based Monitoring of Treatment Resistance in Head and Neck Cancer

Daniel Faden, MD is a head and neck cancer surgeon and scientist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute. He completed his residency at UCSF followed by fellowships at the University of Pittsburgh in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, Cranial Base Surgery and a T32 fellowship studying immunogenomic biomarkers in the laboratory of Robert Ferris, MD, PhD. His translational genomics research laboratory is focused on: 1) understanding APOBEC mutagenesis in HPV+ head and neck cancer and 2) developing liquid biopsy approaches to longitudinally track disease status and therapeutic resistance.

AHNS/AAO-HNSF Young Investigator Combined Award

Carissa Thomas, MD, PhD

The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Project Title: Understanding Oral Cavity Microbiome and Tumor Microenvironment Cross-Talk

Carissa M. Thomas, M.D., Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Thomas is from northern Wisconsin. She received her doctorate of medicine and doctorate of philosophy in cell and molecular biology at Baylor College of Medicine. She completed an otolaryngology residency at the University of Colorado and a head and neck and microvascular reconstructive surgery fellowship at the University of Toronto. Her research involves understanding how cancer changes the composition of the oral cavity microbiome and how bacteria communicate with immune cells in the tumor microenvironment.

AHNS Endocrine Surgery Section Eisai Research Grant

Robert Saadi, MD

The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
Project Title: Sleep Parameters in Patients with Hyperparathyroidism

Dr. Robert Saadi grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for his undergraduate degree and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a major in Neuroscience. He went on to complete medical school at Penn State College of Medicine and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He matched into the Otolaryngology residency training program at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. His current research under the mentorship of Dr. David Goldenberg is focused on measuring objective sleep parameters using wrist actigraphy in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism.

Katie Spielbauer, MD 

The Regents of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Project Title: Thyroid Organoid Development from Autologous Adipose Derived Stem Cells

Katie Spielbauer is currently a third year otolaryngology resident at the University of Michigan. She earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and attended medical school at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. During medical school she studied pharmacotherapeutic approaches to prevention of cisplatin induced hearing loss at the National Institutes of Health as part of the Medical Research Scholars Program. Her proposed research, under the mentorship of Drs. Mark Cohen and David Zopf, will study a novel approach to thyroid replacement for patients with radiation induced hypothyroidism.

American Rhinologic Society (ARS)

ARS Resident Research Grant

Thad Vickery, MD

The Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Project Title: Role of resolvins in S. aureus induced inflammation in chronic sinusitis

Thad Vickery is a fourth-year Head and Neck Surgery resident at UCLA. He earned his BA in chemistry from Skidmore College and MD from the University of Colorado, where he was elected into AOA and studied microbiome and lipid metabolism in chronic sinusitis with the Otolaryngology Department T-32 medical student training grant. Before medical school, he performed lipid mediator metabolomics and studied chronic inflammatory disorders in the lab of Charles Serhan, PhD at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Vickery’s research with Jeffrey Suh, MD will further investigate the role of pro-resolving lipid mediator metabolism in chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis.

Alan Workman, MD, MTR

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA
Project Title: Murine Model of Cystatin-Induced Coagulation Pathway Derangements in CRSwNP

Alan D. Workman, MD MTR is a third-year resident in Otolaryngology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School. He graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University with an undergraduate degree in psychology and then matriculated to the University of Pennsylvania, where he completed his medical school training as well as a masters degree in translational research with Dr. Noam Cohen. Since arriving at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, he has worked in Dr. Benjamin Bleier’s lab, studying chronic rhinosinusitis through a proteomic approach, with a current focus on cystatin physiology and aberrations of coagulation and fibrinolysis. 

ARS Friends in Research Young Investigator Award 

Mohamad Chaaban, MD

Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH
Project Title: Cellular and Immunologic Profile of Chronic Rhinosinusitis

Dr. Mohamad R. Chaaban currently practices the full scope of Rhinology & Skull Base Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. His specialty interests include the diagnosis and management of chronic rhinosinusitis, nasal polyposis, inverted papillomas and sinonasal tumors, aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease (Samter's triad), Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia, skull base tumors and CSF leaks. His research focuses is on population based studies and outcomes in rhinology as well as the basic pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying nasal polyposis. He graduated with honors from the American University of Beirut and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He completed his residency at the University of Chicago and a Rhinology fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He holds a Master's degree in clinical research and an MBA in healthcare from George Washington University. Prior to joining the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Chaaban was an Associate Professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in the section of Rhinology and Skull Base Surgery.

Jivianne Lee, MD

Greater Los Angeles Veterans Research and Education Foundation, Sepulveda, CA
Project Title: The effect of inhalant pollutants and contaminants on sinonasal epithelia

Jivianne T. Lee MD is Associate Professor of Rhinology & Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. After obtaining her Doctorate of Medicine degree and completing her Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery residency at UCLA; she proceeded to do a Rhinology & Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Lee was appointed to the Board of Directors of the American Rhinologic Society (ARS) in 2014, and was elected the Inaugural Chair of the ARS Women In Rhinology Section in 2018. Currently, she also serves as Associate Editor of Sinonasal Disorders for Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and on the Editorial Boards for the International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology and the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy.

American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO)

ASPO Research Grant

Joseph Bellairs, MD 

University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Project Title: Mechanism of ORC-13661 Otoprotection

Joseph Bellairs, MD is a fourth-year resident at the University of Washington. He studied biochemistry and mathematics at Colby College. Afterwards, he joined Dr. Loren Walenksy’s laboratory at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where he applied chemical biology techniques to develop novel pediatric cancer treatments. He then pursued his medical education at the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine. During medical school, he worked with Dr. James LaBelle to research peptide amphiphiles. He graduated with Honors and was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha membership. He is excited to apply his basic science background to developing new treatments for hearing loss.

Albert Park, MD 

The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Project Title: What Role Do Gamma Delta T Cells Play in CMV Induced Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

Dr. Park has had a long-standing interest in improving the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) mediated hearing loss. His lab has successfully developed a murine model for this condition. His team demonstrated for the first time the role of the innate immune response in murine CMV hearing loss specifically from activation of the Ly49H receptor on natural killer cells. They propose to expand on this work to investigate the role of gamma delta (γδ) T cells, in the pathogenesis of CMV-induced SNHL. We hypothesize that γδ T cells protect against CMV-induced SNHL through reduction of viral load and reducing inflammation.

ASPO Dustin Micah Harper RRP Research Grant

Jonas Miller, MD 

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Project Title: New horizons in RRP: VEGF and novel immune checkpoint inhibitors

Jonas Miller is a third-year resident in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. He received his BA in Economics from The College of William and Mary, and worked in Washington, D.C. as an economic consultant after college. He spent several years in New Orleans working in economic development and microfinance for a small non-profit organization. He is a proud graduate of the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans. His research, under mentor Dr. Simon Best, focuses on the role of novel immune checkpoint inhibitors in Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis.

ASPO Research Career Development Award

Graham Strub, MD, PhD

Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute, Little Rock, AR
Project Title: Identification of microRNA networks driving vascular malformation growth

Graham M. Strub, M.D., Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Arkansas/Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Dr. Strub received his medical degree, a master’s in human genetics, and doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from the Medical College of Virginia. He completed his otolaryngology residency at the University of Washington, followed by a pediatric otolaryngology fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. His clinical practice focuses on pediatric head and neck masses, cochlear implantation, vascular anomalies and general pediatric otolaryngology. His research focuses on the molecular biology of vascular anomalies.

Association of Migraine Disorders (AMD)

AMD Resident Research Grant

Janet Choi, MD, MPH

USC/University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Project Title: Clinical Utility of Multifrequency VEMP in Vestibular Migraine Diagnosis

Janet Choi, MD MPH is a fourth-year resident in the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Southern California. She earned her bachelor’s degree in bioengineering at the University of California San Diego and her medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her research work has focused on epidemiology of otolaryngological diseases especially in hearing loss and their implications in public health. Her current research, under the mentorship of Dr. Courtney Voelker and Dr. Alaina Bassett, is investigating the utility of multifrequency vestibular evoked myogenic potential measures in the diagnosis of vestibular migraine.