Research Committee

Alan G. Micco, M.D.

AlanMiccoAlan G. Micco, M.D., serves as President of the American Hearing Research Foundation, and is Chairman of the Foundation’s Research Committee. He is also a member of the Board of the Chicago Hearing Society.

Dr. Micco is currently Associate Professor of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery at Northwestern Medical School. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the Chicago Medical Society, the Chicago Laryngology and Otological Society, and the American College of Surgeons (Associate Fellow).

Dr. Micco holds an M.D. from Northwestern University. He has published many articles in scientific journals and has received numerous awards, including Outstanding Scientific Presentation from the International Politzer Society.

Matthew Carlson, M.D.

Matt CarlsonMatthew Carlson, M.D., is an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Neurosurgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Dr. Carlson received his residency training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Mayo Clinic and completed a 2-year Neurotology fellowship at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Carlson has remained active in clinical and basic science research in the areas of vestibular schwannoma and cochlear implantation. He holds a particular interest in quality of life outcomes in vestibular schwannoma.

Sumitrajit (Sumit) Dhar, Ph.D.

SumitDhar2Sumit Dhar is a new member of the AHRF’s research committee.

Dhar received his bachelor’s degree in audiology and speech language therapy in 1992 from the National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, University of Mumbai, India. He also served as a clinical audiologist and clinical coordinator at the Speech and Hearing Institute Research Center in India, where he oversaw audiology clinics and schools for the deaf.

Dhar earned his master’s degree in audiology in 1995 from Utah State University in Logan, and earned his Ph.D. from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. After graduating from Purdue, Dhar joined the faculty at Indiana University, Bloomington, as an assistant professor. He is now at the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University. His research focuses on otoacoustic emissions as they relate to cochlear mechanics.

Jill B. Firszt, Ph.D.

JillFirsztJill B. Firszt, Ph.D., serves on the Research Committee of the American Hearing Research Foundation.

Dr. Firszt is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Program in Audiology and Communication Disorders at Central Institute for the Deaf-at Washington University. She has worked in the field of cochlear implants for 21 years as a clinical audiologist and clinician-scientist.

Dr. Firszt is a member of several professional organizations, including the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, American Auditory Society, American Academy of Audiology, and the Acoustical Society of America. She is Section Editor for the Cochlear Implant Section of the Ear and Hearing Journal and serves as a reviewer for numerous hearing science and otology journals.
Dr. Firszt’s primary research interests are in the areas of speech recognition, bilateral cochlear implantation, and asymmetric hearing using behavioral and electrophysiologic methods. This externally funded work is conducted in the Cochlear Implant & Electrophysiology Laboratory in the Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University. Dr. Firszt holds a PhD from the University of Illinois and also trained at Northwestern University during her doctoral studies.

Michael Hoffer, M.D.

Michael Hoffer, MD, FACS, is currently serving as a Professor of Otolaryngology and Neurological Surgery at the University of Miami.  Dr. Hoffer assumed these roles after an over twenty year military career in which he studied hearing loss, tinnitus, vestibular disorders, and mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) on active duty service members. Dr. Hoffer is a clinician-scientist who performs both basic and clinical research along with his Otology/Neurotology clinical practice.  Dr. Hoffer’s lab focuses on traumatic damage to the inner ear and brain. 

He has written or co-authored over sixty papers and has a particular expertise in hearing disorders (including hearing loss and tinnitus), balance disorders, as well as neurosensory consequences after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).   Dr. Hoffer and his collaborators have done pioneering work on the treatment of noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus, pharmaceutical countermeasures for mTBI as well as optimized diagnosis and management of neurosensory disorders seen after mTBI. Dr. Hoffer graduated from Stanford and then attended UCSD Medical School.   After receiving his MD he was a resident at the University of Pennsylvania, and did a Neurotology Fellowship at the Ear Research Foundation.

David A. Klodd, Ph.D.

DavidKloddDr. Klodd is a professor of Audiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Medical Center with 33 years experience. He sees a wide range of patients from neonate through geriatric. His areas of expertise involve audiological evaluation and management in patients with facial nerve disorders, vestibular/balance disorders, and other otoneulogic hearing disorders such as acoustic neuroma and NF2. He sees patients for hearing aid evaluation and fitting as well as auditory implants. Audiology implant interest is in the areas of cochlear implants, Baha implants and most recently auditory brainstem implants (ABI). He also serves on the AHRF’s Research Committee.

He teaches in the University of Florida’s Au.D distance learning program. He serves on the Audiology Advisory Board for the Chicago Hearing Society as well as the advisory board for the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science of Syracuse University. He has served on numerous departmental and medical school committees including being the past Chairman of the Committee on Admissions. He advises UIC medical students and has recently been elected to the faculty senate.

Dr. Klodd’s recent areas of investigation have been mentored with University of Illinois Audiology and Bioengineering doctoral students. Topics of some of these projects have involved: Post Operative Electrophysiologic Assessment in the ABI Recipient, and Assessment of Resting Middle Ear Muscle Tone by a New Measure of Energy Reflectance. He is also the principle investigator at UIC of the HARP study of Northwestern University.

Nina Kraus, Ph.D.

NinaKraus2Nina Kraus, Ph.D., serves on the Research Committee of the American Hearing Research Foundation.

Dr. Kraus is currently a Professor of Speech, Communication Sciences and Disorders; Neurobiology and Physiology at Northwestern University. Her primary interest is in understanding neurobiologic processes underlying speech-sound perception and learning-associated brain plasticity. Some of her research studies include Speech Perception and Learning Problems, Perceptual Learning and Brain Plasticity, Central Auditory Speech Representation and Peripheral Hearing Impairment, Representation of Speech in the Auditory CNS, Speech-Sound Perception in Noise, and Left-Brain Specialization for Speech.

Dr. Kraus holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She has published numerous scientific articles and has been a presenter at many conferences.

Anna Lysakowski, Ph.D.

AnnaLysakowskiAnna Lysakowski, Ph.D., serves on the Research Committee of the American Hearing Research Foundation.

Dr. Lysakowski is currently Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Lysakowski has served as a regular member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) IFCN-6 Study Section and on NASA and National Science Foundation review panels. She received the R.R. Benseley Award for Outstanding Cell Biology Research, has published numerous scientific articles and book chapters, and is a NIH and NASA grant recipient.

Dr. Lysakowski belongs to several professional organizations, including Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO), Society for Neuroscience (SFN), American Association of Anatomists (AAA), American Physiological Society, Bárány Society, and American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology. She has served on the ARO Program Committee, as an officer and board member for the Chicago Chapter of SFN, and on several committees for AAA, including Educational Affairs Committee, Educational Outreach Grant Awards Committee, and Henry Gray Distinguished Educator Award Committee.

Dr. Lysakowski holds a Ph.D. in Anatomy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received additional training at University of Chicago and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. Her research interests include vestibular and cochlear peripheral anatomy, physiology, development, and efferent innervation.

Christina Runge, Ph.D., CCC-A

Runge 3x5_compressedChristina Runge, Ph.D., CCC-A, received her doctorate from the University of Iowa in 2002 with a primary focus in auditory neurophysiology. She is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Chief of the Division of Communication Sciences, and Director of the Koss Cochlear Implant Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. She regularly presents at regional, national, and international meetings on cochlear implantation and hearing loss. She has co-authored more than 40 scientific articles and book chapters, and has been extramurally funded to study cochlear implants, genetics of hearing loss, and auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder.

 Katherine Shim, Ph.D.

Katherine Shim, PhD, received her doctorate from Stanford University and completed her postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco. She is currently a Scientific Review Officer at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Prior to joining the NIH, she was an Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, where she led an extramurally-funded research laboratory investigating the role of cell signaling during the embryonic development of the inner ear. In particular, her laboratory focused on the role of a mouse deafness gene during specification of embryonic progenitor cells of the inner ear.

 Alex D. Sweeney, M.D.

Alex D. Sweeney, M.D., joined the AHRF Research Committee in 2018.

Dr. Sweeney is an Assistant Professor and Dorothy L. McGee Endowed Chair of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. He is a fellow of the American Neurotology Society and a member of the Houston Society of Otolaryngology.

Dr. Sweeney holds an M.D. from the Baylor College of Medicine and completed a fellowship as the Michael E. Glasscock III, MD fellow in Neurotology at Vanderbilt University.