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Otology, Neurotology and Lateral Skull Base Surgeon (Neurotologist) – University of Wisconsin Madison

Otology, Neurotology and Lateral Skull Base Surgeon (Neurotologist) – University of Wisconsin Madison

Job Summary:  The Division of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery in the Department of Surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) is recruiting an exceptional otologist/neurotologist/lateral skull base surgeon (neurotologist) to join the Division of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. We are looking for candidates with a track record of clinical excellence in otology, neurotology and lateral skull base surgery in adults (with or without pediatric expertise), and academic contributions across the research and education missions of UWSMPH. Leadership opportunities including section chief are available and based on rank and experience.

A faculty of 30 provides clinical expertise in head and neck oncologic and reconstructive surgery, pediatric otolaryngology, otology-neurotology-lateral skull base surgery, comprehensive otolaryngology, laryngology, rhinology-skull base surgery, and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery across a UW Health hospital system and William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital. Education within the division includes a commitment to medical student education, an ACGME-accredited residency program of 15 residents and fellowships in Laryngology and Head and Neck Oncologic and Reconstructive Surgery. Active research programs within the Division in six investigator labs include 29 funded extramural grants. The Division provides full-spectrum otolaryngology care for adults and children in six clinical practice sites in the Madison area and six outreach sites across Wisconsin and Illinois.

The UW Department of Surgery includes more than 150 faculty across eleven specialty divisions. The Department houses four residencies, ten fellowships and is consistently ranked amongst the top extramural research funding programs currently 8th in the nation according to Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. The department provides a robust infrastructure of services through a Qualitative Research Core, Histology Core, Statistical Analysis and Programming Core, Grant Management Team, Grant Writing Support Wisconsin Surgical Outcomes Research Program (WiSOR) in support of health services research and Office of Clinical Research in support of clinical trials.

Faculty at UWSMPH work to achieve strategic goals at department, school and campus levels which embody the Wisconsin Idea and include UWSMPH strategic pillars of scholarship, science, service and social responsibility.

UWSMPH is committed to being a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist workplace and is an Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Applications from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals, LGBTQ+ and non-binary identities, women, persons with disabilities, military service members and veterans are strongly encouraged.

A competitive salary and benefit package is provided, including generous academic support.

Degree and area of specialization:  MD, DO, or equivalent.
License/certification:  Specialization must include eligibility or certification in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (ABOHNS) or by the American Osteopathic Boards of Ophthalmology and Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (AOBOOHNS); and completion of an ACGME Accredited Neurotology Fellowship or sub-specialty certification in Neurotology by ABOHNS, or equivalent.

Candidate is required to have or be eligible for a Wisconsin Medical License and must be eligible for enrollment as a billing provider and for all necessary hospital privileges within the UW Health network.

Relevant work experience:  Applicants should have a track record of professional development and academic scholarship including an interest and history in establishing a successful research program with preference for applicants with a previous Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-Investigator role in funded research activities. Candidates must possess clinical and academic credentials sufficient for appointment at the Tenure Track rank of Professor, Associate Professor or Assistant Professor. Appointment as Full Professor or Associate Professor will require that candidate’s credentials meet criteria for rank established by the School of Medicine and Public Health and UW-Madison guidelines.

Clinical activity (up to 60%): We seek a neurotologist with interest, skill, and enthusiasm in the care of adults (with or without care of pediatric patients) with disorders of the lateral skull base and temporal bone regions including the auditory and vestibular systems. The applicant should have command of the core knowledge and understanding of medical sciences relevant to these regions and advanced diagnostic and medical and surgical management skills for the care of otologic disorders (hearing loss, balance disorders, and other disorders of the middle, inner and outer ear) and neurotologic diseases and disorders of the petrous apex, internal auditory canals, infratemporal fossae, cranial nerves, and lateral skull base. The applicant is expected to work collaboratively and inclusively within and across related fields including neurologic surgery, rehabilitation medicine, audiology and with colleagues within the division and department. Opportunities for program growth in cochlear implantation/surgical hearing restoration and vestibular surgery are available. Clinical in-patient and out-patient practices are supported by a team of 12 Advance Practice Providers. Occasional otolaryngology on-call and regional outreach represent clinical commitments shared amongst all faculty.

Research program (40% or greater): We are recruiting a physician-scientist on the Tenure Track who will develop (or transfer an existing) original, high-quality research program. The successful applicant will achieve independent and extramurally supported funding in an area relevant to the sub-specialty of otology-neurotology-lateral skull base surgery that makes a substantial and continuing contribution to science. The applicant will lead and conduct research activities that develop coherent and impactful lines of basic, clinical, translational or health sciences research that may draw on numerous available collaborators.

Education (included in clinical activity): Faculty in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery share a commitment to education at levels of medical student, resident training, and continuing medical education. Clinical and sub-intern UWSMPH medical students and resident physicians in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery are included in daily clinical activities. An active commitment to training the next generation of otolaryngologist-head & neck surgeons including a commitment to ACGME-accredited residency training otolaryngology-head & neck surgery and especially in otologic key indicator cases (e.g., tympanoplasty, mastoidectomy, and ossiculoplasty).

Service and Leadership (included in clinical activity): The successful candidate will be an active participant in regional and national professional associations. Opportunities for leadership in the Section of Otology-Neurotology & Division of Otolaryngology will be matched to the experience, skills, and interests of the applicant.

Additional Information:
The Community:  Located on an isthmus between two lakes, Madison is the capital city of the state of Wisconsin. Madison has been voted the #1 Best Place to Live (Livability, 2021), #1 City for Most Successful Women Per Capita (Forbes, 2019), #1 City for Best Work-Life Balance (SmartAsset, 2020), #7 Best City for STEM Professionals (CEO World, 2020), #2 Best State to Practice Medicine (WalletHub, 2020), #2 Best City for Biking (People for Bikes, 2020), #4 Fittest City in the U.S. (ACSM American Fitness Index, 2020), #4 Greenest City in the US (Zippia, 2020), #1 Best Place to Retire (Money, 2020), #1 Best Place in the U.S. for Raising Children ( 2020), and #1 Best College Football Town in America (Sports Illustrated, 2019).

Madison is the second largest city in Wisconsin with a population of 270,000 and a pattern of sustained population growth. Madison boasts an excellent public school system and is home to state government, county government and the flagship institution of higher education in the state. The city is rich with diverse cultural offerings in the arts between campus venues and the Overture Center for the Arts. From April to November, the Capitol Square hosts the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the country.

Madison’s technology economy is growing rapidly, and the region is home to the headquarters of Epic Systems, Exact Sciences, American Girl (Mattel), Sub-Zero, and Lands’ End, as well as many biotechnology, healthcare IT, and health systems startups.

The city of Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Madison acknowledge that they occupy ancestral Ho-Chunk land. The School of Medicine and Public Health recognizes the health inequities faced by Native communities and pledges to learn more and take action across all of its missions.

This position has been identified as a position of trust with access to vulnerable populations. The selected candidate will be required to pass an initial Caregiver Check to be eligible for employment under the Wisconsin Caregiver Law and then every four years.

Applicants for this position will be considered for the titles listed in this posting. The title is determined by the experience and qualifications of the finalist.

How to Apply:
To apply for this position, please click on the “Apply Now” button. You will be asked to upload the following:
Current CV
Cover letter detailing:
1) Vision for research program & collaborations
2) How you would support and engage in a diverse, inclusive, equitable and anti-racist culture and environment in the Division of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery in the Department of Surgery.

The deadline for assuring full consideration is September 5, 2022, however positions will remain open, and applications may be considered until the position is filled.


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Hearing loss can significantly disrupt the ability of children to become mainstreamed in educational environments that emphasize spoken language as a primary means of communication. Similarly, adults who lose their hearing after communicating using spoken language have numerous challenges understanding speech and integrating into social situations. These challenges are particularly significant in noisy situations, where multiple sound sources often arrive at the ears from various directions. Intervention with hearing aids and/or cochlear implants (CIs) has proven to be highly successful for restoring some aspects of communication, including speech understanding and language acquisition. However, there is also typically a notable gap in outcomes relative to normal-hearing listeners. Importantly, auditory abilities operate in the context of how hearing integrates with other senses. Notably, the visual system is tightly couples to the auditory system. Vision is known to impact auditory perception and neural mechanisms in vision and audition are tightly coupled, thus, in order to understand how we hear and how CIs affect auditory perception we must consider the integrative effects across these senses.

We start with Rebecca Alexander, a compelling public speaker who has been living with Usher’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder found in tens of thousands of people, causing both deafness and blindness in humans. Ms. Alexander will be introduced by Dr. Jeffrey Holt, who studies gene therapy strategies for hearing restoration. The symposium then highlights the work of scientists working across these areas. Here we integrate psychophysics, clinical research, and biological approaches, aiming to gain a coherent understanding of how we might ultimately improve outcomes in patients. Drs. Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik are new to the ARO community, and will discuss neurobiology of the visual system as it relates to visual prostheses. Dr. Jennifer Groh’s work will then discuss multi-sensory processing and how it is that vision helps us hear. Having set the stage for thinking about the role of vision in a multisensory auditory world, we will hear from experts in the area of cochlear implants. Dr. René H Gifford will discuss recent work on electric-acoustic integration in children and adults, and Dr. Sharon Cushing will discuss her work as a clinician on 3-D auditory and vestibular effects. Dr. Matthew Winn will talk about cognitive load and listening effort using pupillometry, and we will end with Dr. Rob Shepherd’s discussion of current work and future possibilities involving biological treatments and neural prostheses. Together, these presentations are designed to provide a broad and interdisciplinary view of the impact of sensory restoration in hearing, vision and balance, and the potential for future approaches for improving the lives of patients.

Kirupa Suthakar, PhD - Dr Kirupa Suthakar is a postdoctoral fellow at NIH/NIDCD, having formerly trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School and doctoral student at Garvan Institute of Medical Research/UNSW Australia.  Kirupa's interest in the mind and particular fascination by how we are able to perceive the world around us led her to pursue a research career in auditory neuroscience.  To date, Kirupa's research has broadly focused on neurons within the auditory efferent circuit, which allow the brain to modulate incoming sound signals at the ear.  Kirupa is active member of the spARO community, serving as the Chair Elect for 2021.



I began studying the vestibular system during my dissertation research at the Università di Pavia with Professors Ivo Prigioni and GianCarlo Russo. I had two postdoctoral fellowships, first at the University of Rochester with Professor Christopher Holt and then at the University of Illinois at Chicago with Professors Jonathan Art and Jay Goldberg.

My research focuses on characterizing the biophysics of synaptic transmission between hair cells and primary afferents in the vestibular system. For many years an outstanding question in vestibular physiology was how the transduction current in the type I hair cell was sufficient, in the face of large conductances on at rest, to depolarize it to potentials necessary for conventional synaptic transmission with its unique afferent calyx.

In collaboration with Dr. Art, I overcame the technical challenges of simultaneously recording from type I hair cells and their enveloping calyx afferent to investigate this question. I was able to show that with depolarization of either hair cell or afferent, potassium ions accumulating in the cleft depolarize the synaptic partner. Conclusions from these studies are that due to the extended apposition between type I hair cell and its afferent, there are three modes of communication across the synapse. The slowest mode of transmission reflects the dynamic changes in potassium ion concentration in the cleft which follow the integral of the ongoing hair cell transduction current. The intermediate mode of transmission is indirectly a result of this potassium elevation which serves as the mechanism by which the hair cell potential is depolarized to levels necessary for calcium influx and the vesicle fusion typical of glutamatergic quanta. This increase in potassium concentration also depolarizes the afferent to potentials that allow the quantal EPSPs to trigger action potentials. The third and most rapid mode of transmission like the slow mode of transmission is bidirectional, and a current flowing out of either hair cell or afferent into the synaptic cleft will divide between a fraction flowing out into the bath, and a fraction flowing across the cleft into its synaptic partner.

The technical achievement of the dual electrode approach has enabled us to identify new facets of vestibular end organ synaptic physiology that in turn raise new questions and challenges for our field. I look forward with great excitement to the next chapter in my scientific story.


Charles C. Della Santina, PhD MD is a Professor of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he directs the Johns Hopkins Cochlear Implant Center and the Johns Hopkins Vestibular NeuroEngineering Laboratory.

As a practicing neurotologic surgeon, Dr. Della Santina specializes in treatment of middle ear, inner ear and auditory/vestibular nerve disorders. His clinical interests include restoration of hearing via cochlear implantation and management of patients who suffer from vestibular disorders, with a particular focus on helping individuals disabled by chronic postural instability and unsteady vision after bilateral loss of vestibular sensation. His laboratory’s research centers on basic and applied research supporting development of vestibular implants, which are medical devices intended to partially restore inner ear sensation of head movement. In addition to that work, his >90 publications include studies characterizing inner ear physiology and anatomy; describing novel clinical tests of vestibular function; and clarifying the effects of cochlear implantation, vestibular implantation, superior canal dehiscence syndrome and intratympanic gentamicin therapy on the inner ear and central nervous system.  Dr. Della Santina is also the founder and CEO/Chief Scientific Officer of Labyrinth Devices LLC, a company dedicated to bringing novel vestibular testing and implant technology into routine clinical care.

Andrew Griffith received his MD and PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University in 1992. He completed his general surgery internship and a residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Michigan in 1998. He also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Department of Human Genetics as part of his training at the University of Michigan. In 1998, he joined the Division of Intramural Research (DIR) in the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). He served as a senior investigator, the chief of the Molecular Biology and Genetics Section, the chief of the Otolaryngology Branch, and the director of the DIR, as well as the deputy director for Intramural Clinical Research across the NIH Intramural Research Program. His research program identifies and characterizes molecular and cellular mechanisms of normal and disordered hearing and balance in humans and mouse models. Two primary interests of his program have been hearing loss associated with enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct, and the function of TMC genes and proteins. The latter work lead to the discovery that the deafness gene product TMC1 is a component of the hair cell sensory transduction channel. Since July of 2020, he has served as the Senior Associate Dean of Research and a Professor of Otolaryngology and Physiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Gwenaëlle S. G. Géléoc obtained a PhD in Sensory Neurobiology from the University of Sciences in Montpellier (France) in 1996. She performed part of her PhD training at the University of Sussex, UK where she characterized sensory transduction in vestibular hair cells and a performed a comparative study between vestibular and cochlear hair cells. Gwenaelle continued her training as an electrophysiologist at University College London studying outer hair cell motility and at Harvard Medical School studying modulation of mechanotransduction in vestibular hair cells. As an independent investigator at the University of Virginia, she expanded this work and characterized the developmental acquisition of sensory transduction in mouse vestibular hair cells, the developmental acquisition of voltage-sensitive conductances in vestibular hair cells and the tonotopic gradient in the acquisition of sensory transduction in the mouse cochlea. This work along with quantitative spatio-temporal studies performed on several hair cell mechanotransduction candidates lead her to TMC1 and 2 and long-term collaborations with Andrew Griffith and Jeff Holt. Dr. Géléoc is currently Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, at Boston Children’s Hospital where she continues to study molecular players involved in the development and function of hair cells of the inner ear and develops new therapies for the treatment of deafness and balance, with a particular focus on Usher syndrome.

Jeff Holt earned a doctorate from the Department of Physiology at the University of Rochester in 1995 for his studies of inward rectifier potassium channels in saccular hair cells.  He went on to a post-doctoral position in the Neurobiology Department at Harvard Medical School and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where he characterized sensory transduction and adaptation in hair cells and developed a viral vector system to transfect cultured hair cells.  Dr. Holt’s first faculty position was in the Neuroscience Department at the University of Virginia.  In 2011 the lab moved to Boston Children’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Holt is currently a Professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology and Neurology in the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center.  Dr. Holt and his team have been studying sensory transduction in auditory and vestibular hair cells over the past 20 years, with particular focus on TMC1 and TMC2 over the past 12 years.  This work lead to the discovery that TMC1 forms the hair cell transduction channel.  His work also focuses on development gene therapy strategies for genetic hearing loss.