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Otolaryngology Research

The Saint Louis University Department of Otolaryngology encourages SLU students and faculty to work side-by-side as they pursue research. 
Walen Research

The Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Saint Louis University actively participates in multiple facets of research including bench work, translational, and clinical research that aims to improve the understanding of disease processes and patient care for a variety of otolaryngological conditions. The results of our research are published in scientific journals and accepted as oral or poster presentations at national and international meetings.

The research conducted in our department is performed by our clinical faculty, otolaryngology residents, adjunct research faculty, and medical school students with a propensity to the study of disorders of the head and neck. The dedication this group brings to research in otolaryngology allows us to approach patients with the highest level of care and the most cutting-edge treatments.

Research Areas

SOM Student Research Guidelines

Student Research

Saint Louis University's Department of Otolaryngology is well known for its research endeavors. The department is conducting over 45 studies, and in the past five years, has published over 90 manuscripts. SLU School of Medicine students can partner with our faculty and residents on a research project. Past projects have resulted in published manuscripts and presentations at regional and national conferences.

How to Apply

Research project assignment is done on a first-come, first-served basis through the department research coordinator. Projects will be capped at two if a waitlist of interested students exists. There is no guarantee of project assignment, nor can an estimated timeline be provided.

Applicants must submit an otolaryngology student research application and provide a copy of their most recent resume/CV. Please submit a complete application and send all pertinent supporting materials.

Prerequisites to research involvement are:

  • ENT Case Challenge or CV with detailed research experience
  • Faculty Shadowing (x3) or  OASIS Otolaryngology Course


Once assigned a project, you are responsible for obtaining and providing proof of SLUSOM approval for your involvement. This applies to every type of research project (i.e., IRB, database, case report). Please coordinate your approval with the otolaryngology research coordinator.


ENT Case Challenge
Thomas Hoag

Tina Vandever

Research Coordinator
Deniece Webb

Clinical Research

A member of the department examines a patient's mouth.
SLU Otolaryngology has a diverse range of clinical research activities. As a vital component of the department’s clinical mission, our research projects and initiatives covers otologic disorders, vestibular, voice and speech, sinus and nasal disorders, pediatrics, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, and head and neck cancer.


Students and faculty members sit at seats in lecture auditorium.
The Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Surgery has a growing epidemiology research core. Our team oversees all aspects of epidemiology research outcomes focusing on head and neck cancer prevention, early detection, control, survivorship, and quality of life. Statistician Matthew Simpson, M.P.H., supports the research efforts of faculty, residents, and medical students.

Basic Science

Three residents sit in a lab facing their work stations, backs to the camera.
The Department of Otolaryngology-Head and  Neck Surgery partners with several innovative bioscience research laboratories at Saint Louis University School of Medicine to support resident training and faculty research. The integrated team of adjunct and collaborating faculty with cutting-edge laboratory resources joining our department increases resident and medical student exposure to basic science and translational initiatives.

SLU Adjunct Faculty

  • Rajeev Aurora, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
  • Ratna Ray, Ph.D.
    Professor, Department of Pathology

SLU Collaborating Faculty

  • Guangyong Peng, M.D., Ph.D.
    Professor, Department of Infectious Diseases

Basic Science Research Highlights, Department of Otolaryngology

General Otolaryngology

Role of FOXP3+ CD4+ and FOXP3+ CD8+ T regulatory cells in obstructive sleep apnea
Principal Investigator: Thomas Sanford, M.D.

Vision Statement

Saint Louis University's Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery will produce high-quality nationally-recognized research to advance our field.

Mission Statement

The Department of Otolaryngology at Saint Louis University aims to produce clinical and epidemiologic research directed at improving the quality of life of patients in our field. We seek to advance knowledge in otolaryngology, define cutting-edge treatments, and improve patient outcomes. Our mission requires the commitment of our faculty, residents, and staff. We strive to promote productive partnerships within and across fields, and we will work in an ethical, honest manner to expand the boundaries of otolaryngology knowledge and practice. 

Mandatory Responsible Conduct of Research Training

The National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health require training in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) for programs supporting research training, career development or research education.

All students, postdoctoral fellows and trainees at Saint Louis University supported by external funds must receive at least eight hours of formalized RCR training. To meet this requirement, Saint Louis University provides a series of two-hour workshops throughout the year. Training should be completed by the end of your program. Attending at least four workshops puts you in compliance but attending more is always encouraged. Training should be completed by the end of your program.