Ivy Schweinzger, a graduate student in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Allied Health Sciences (CAHS), recently presented research at the Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology in San Diego. She was also one of 16 recipients out of approximately 200 applicants of the Don Henderson Travel Award, named for the renowned auditory researcher who recently passed away.
Schweinzger presented "Volumetric Analysis of Cholesteatoma Induced With a Novel Ear Canal Ligation Approach in a Gerbil Model.” Cholesteatomas are cyst-like growths in the middle ear that can cause hearing loss, ear drainage, meningitis and even death if left untreated.
"Surgery is the standard of care for removal of cholesteatomas, but the recurrence rate is high,” says Schweinzger. "Our current research involves using an animal model of cholesteatoma to test a vaccine-like biological treatment that might shrink the size of the growth and reduce the need for surgery. This alternative treatment, developed by Timothy Cripe, MD, PhD, chief of Hematology and Oncology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, would be especially useful in rural areas and developing countries in which access to surgical centers is limited.”
Schweinzger’s mentors for the research include Brian Earl, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the UC CAHS and director of EARLAB, and Ravi Samy, MD, associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery in the UC College of Medicine. Co-authors on the research poster included doctoral student Joseph Pinkl of CAHS, and undergraduate student Randi Wray in the Department of Biological Sciences in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.
"We have also been fortunate to work with Lisa Lemen, PhD, associate professor and Sharon Wang of UC’s Vontz Core Imaging Laboratory as part of our research team,” says Earl. "Their expertise in high-resolution imaging has been crucial as we are moving forward with experiments to test the effectiveness of the alternative treatment for cholesteatoma.”