Awards & Recognitions

Faculty and students in the Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery participate in many ground-breaking discoveries.

NIH-funded opportunities allow students to work side-by-side with nationally recognized scientists on studies designed to significantly advance the field. We are recognized for our high-profile research and innovative new treatments in human communication disorders, sleep apnea, head and neck cancers and facial plastics and reconstructive surgery, among others.

Notable Achievements

  • Keck School researchers aiming to cure deafness by using cellular reprogramming to create inner ear cells were awarded special funding as a recipient of USC’s Regenerative Medicine Initiative award in 2013. The death of these delicate structures is the most common cause of deafness. Using the basic tools of modern biology, the team is investigating why hair cells don’t grow naturally after they’re damaged in the human inner ear. Our faculty members stand at the forefront of breakthroughs in patient care.
  • Keck Medicine of USC is one of the first academic medical centers in Southern California to implement the use of intranasal steroid stents – a new method in the treatment of the toughest chronic rhinosinusitis cases.
  • Keck Medical Center was the first in Los Angeles to offer the Inspire® II Upper Airway Stimulation System – a novel sleep apnea implant – in 2014.
  • Keck Medical Center was the first academic medical center on the west coast to offer Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) in 2010. Today, we remain at the forefront of robotic surgery in the region.
  • Keck School researchers have developed and are seeking FDA-approval for a point-of-care diagnostic test that allows for earlier-than-ever detection of oral cancer by measuring biomarker levels in saliva.
  • Our physicians and therapists introduced unique surgical techniques and a novel rehabilitation program that includes traditional swallowing exercises (TSE) and VitalSlim – the only transcutaneous neuromuscular electrical stimulation (tNMES) methods cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • Researchers at the USC Caruso Family Center for Childhood Communication led the NIH-funded Phase I Clinical Trial grant to evaluate the safety of the auditory brainstem implant in ten pediatric subjects who were not candidates for traditional cochlear implants due to cochlear nerve deficiency, cochlear aplasia, or cochlear ossification. This started in 2013 and we are currently following up the children to assess their outcomes.