Research is a vital component of the Department of Otolaryngology’s clinical mission. Our innovative research dedicated to problems and diseases of the head and neck in children and adults puts us at the forefront of the specialty, and has allowed us to have a profound impact on our patient population. With a number of National Institutes of Health grants supporting our various research projects and initiatives, we are able to continue our efforts toward cutting edge and comprehensive patient care.


Heard it Here First: How Iowa Became a Leader in Cochlear Implants

New Medical Device Start-up

OtoScope-Genetic Testing for Hearing Loss- MORL Lab

Research Highlights

  • In 2021, the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Iowa was number 7 in NIH funding according to the Blue Ridge rankings. Two of our faculty are among the top six NIH funded investigators in Otolaryngology. All of our NIH funding is to active clinician-scientists.
  • The Department leads innovation in many areas including hearing preservation cochlear implantation, development of the world’s first FDA-approved robotics-assisted device for cochlear implants, cranial reconstruction, head and neck reconstruction, function sparing cancer surgery, and tinnitus.
  • The MORL is internationally recognized for discovery and diagnosis of genetic hearing loss with both Clinical Diagnostics and Basic Research Divisions. The Clinical Diagnostics Division is the world leader in the application of massively parallel sequencing technology to the clinical  diagnosis of hereditary deafness. The OtoSCOPE platform has changed the evaluation of the deaf person by making comprehensive genetic testing the most useful diagnostic test to obtain after audiometry. The Basic Research Division of the MORL has mapped 19% of all known non-syndromic hearing loss loci and cloned 22% of all genes implicated in deafness.
  • New faculty members include Brian Andrews (craniofacial/plastics and tissue engineering), Marisa Buchakjian (Head & Neck tumor biology), and Xiaoyang Hua (upper airway immunology and inflammation). In 2022, Alex Claussen (neurotology/auditory neuroscience) and Matt Hoffman (laryngology and laryngeal physiology and function).. Each brings robust new clinical and research programs to the Department.
  •  Our department conducts extensive clinical, preclinical, and basic research investigations across the full spectrum of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, resulting in 110 peer-reviewed publications in 2021. 
  • Our department  hosted the international Molecular Biology of Hearing and Deafness conference in May 2022.