WVU Department Ranks in Top Ten in Country

Otolaryngology ranks ninth in research

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The National Institutes of Health recently listed West Virginia University’s Otolaryngology Department as one of the top ten ear, nose and throat research departments in the country.

The recognition is based on the total amount of research funding the department receives from the NIH, according to George Spirou, Ph.D., director of the Center for Neuroscience at the WVU School of Medicine. “This ranking reflects the concerted effort of our neuroscience researchers not only in the Department of Otolaryngology but also in other departments,” said Dr. Spirou. “Our interdisciplinary program has been ranked highly over the past several years, which reflects the strong, consistent effort by our scientists.”

“This is a significant recognition, especially with the increased competition for research funding,” said John E. Prescott, dean of the WVU School of Medicine. “This is an important step towards our goal of becoming one of the top 25 medical schools in the country.”

The Otolaryngology Department’s NIH funding is nearly $2.8 million, and supports a range of research activities. Among the questions being studied are investigation of receptor cells of the inner ear in health and disease models, sound processing in the brain, and how the auditory system develops in utero. It also supports the acquisition and support of core research equipment and facilities for all HSC neuroscience research.

“Strong clinical research is what differentiates us from hospitals and clinics that deliver only patient care,” said Dr. Spirou. “At WVU, we are able to offer the most modern clinical services in a setting where we are studying the medical science that underlies tomorrow’s treatments. The ENT treatments and services that WVU offers are among the best in the country, and they are right here in Morgantown.”

The research faculty in the department are: Albert Berrebi, Ph.D., Janet Cyr, Ph.D., Peter Mathers, Ph.D, and Spirou. The department’s clinical faculty is led by Stephen J. Wetmore, M.D., department chair and Hassan H. Ramadan, M.D., vice-chair. Clinical faculty duties include patient care, education of residents and students, and participation in research.

The Otolaryngology Department remains a place of excellence in training students, research fellows and residents. It also provides a wide range of services that include not only the traditional services of an "Ear, Nose and Throat" Clinic but also many tertiary care components, such as endoscopic sinus surgery for children with cystic fibrosis, cochlear implants for people with profound hearing loss, otoacoustic emissions (OAE) testing for hearing loss assessment, and particle repositioning treatment for benign positional vertigo. Major head and neck oncologic surgery, advanced treatments for head and neck cancer, cranial base surgery, and reconstructive surgery are also performed.

The Department has eight full time faculty physicians, two part-time physicians, a full service Audiology division, a speech pathology service, sponsored by WVU Hospital, which provides a wide range of voice and swallowing services, and an active and growing program in basic and clinical research. The five year residency program consists of ten residents.

“The department’s specialists offer treatment for all diseases involving ear, nose and throat, providing a full-range of treatment for people living in West Virginia and surrounding states,” said Dr. Wetmore.


- WVU -

For more information:
Steve Bovino, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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