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  • Membership directory search (Member Home)
  • Archived videos of Presidential symposium lectures (Meetings tab)
  • Archived recent emails to members (Member Home)
  • ARO Bylaws (Publications tab) 

Other membership benefits

  • Subscription to JARO, Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
  • Small grants up to $1000 to support activities related to our mission (see Funding Opportunities)
  • Fee reduction for registration to the MidWinter Meeting*
  • Opportunity to sponsor an abstract for the ARO MidWinter Meeting* (Either your own or for a scientist who may or may not be a member of the association)
  • Information updates in the field of Otolargyngology**
  • Participation in the governance of the association***

*The MidWinter Meeting is held each year. The program includes both contributed paper sessions and special seminars, workshops and a short course with invited speakers on topics of current interest and importance to the ARO membership. The meeting abstracts are available to meeting attendees in digital form prior to the meeting.  The abstracts are also available on the ARO website after the meeting. The ARO encourages an informal atmosphere at this meeting in order that the participants have maximal opportunity to exchange information. This informal setting is especially important for young scientists or clinicians in their attempt to learn about the broad field of scientific Otolaryngology.

**Information updates in the field of Otolargyngology: ARO members are kept informed about ARO business and other topics pertinent to research in Otolaryngology through this website and through a selectied mass e-mail service to members. Members may be informed of critical issues related to research in Otolaryngology, such as pending legislation and policies of funding agencies and other issues that could have an impact on research. The ARO website includes announcements and a calendar of events related to the field of Otolaryngology, career opportunities, information on the ARO MidWinter Meeting, searchable abstracts from 1993 to the present, JARO and selected research highlights from the journal, and a resource library of related websites for educational purposes. 

***Participation in the governance of the association: Members are eligible to serve on committees and therefore contribute to the establishment of association priorities and programs. An election for the leaders governing the ARO is conducted annually. Business meetings are held annually during the association’s MidWinter Meeting.  


by Matthew Kelley, ARO Past President

The strength of any society, regardless of the common interests that draw those individuals together, is derived from the individuals that comprise it.  As we all know, the primary responsibility of the ARO is to organize our annual Mid-Winter Meeting (MWM).  While the meeting has been growing steadily over the past few years, membership has remained relatively flat.  Here I discuss some reasons for MWM attendees to become members, for the mutual good of all MWM participants.  To those of you who are already members, you may find these arguments helpful for encouraging colleagues new to the field to join ARO.

The Midwinter Meeting only occurs through the hard work of the ARO members who serve on the various committees, such as the Program and the Award of Merit Committees to name just two, that are crucial for the content and coordination of the MWM.   Without new membership, our committees will continue to be populated by long-standing members.  While I believe our existing members are doing a great job of directing the ARO, new individuals can bring in new ideas that could make ARO even better.  Put another way, membership gives you the chance to play a significant role in the planning and execution of the MWM.  Whether there are aspects of the meeting that you love and feel need to be protected, or obstacles that you want changed, the way to have influence starts with membership.

A little over ten years ago, ARO members decided to create a journal, JARO, which would provide a venue for publications on topics that are relevant to our field and membership.  To accomplish this, we crafted an agreement with Springer that includes a personal subscription to JARO for each member at no additional cost to them.  In return, Springer added to its portfolio a journal with a valuable subscriber base.  The long term health of this valuable resource requires a stable or growing membership.

Finally, our influence in the public sphere depends on both the current membership and its trajectory.   The more of us there are, and the more we grow in number, the more we will be asked to contribute to public discussions of hearing-related research and clinical practice.

The lion’s share of intellectual and financial support for ARO, the Mid-Winter Meeting, and JARO will always come from our members.  To ensure the long-term health of each of these components, it’s important for you, your colleagues, and trainees to become and remain members.


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.