Ahmed Ali, M.D., and John Hanks, M.D., received first prize from the Triological Society for their poster at the 2019 Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meeting (COSM), which was held May 1-5 in Austin, Texas. Drs. Ali and Hanks are part of the University of Michigan Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, which collaborates with the U-M Program for Neurology Research & Discovery.
The poster was entitled “Interleukin-4 (IL-4) Embedded Conduits Improve Nerve Regeneration in the Rat Facial Nerve Gap Defect.” The facial nerve is responsible for controlling the muscles that create facial expressions, and damage to this nerve can have devastating consequences for patients. The researchers demonstrated improved recovery of injured nerve fibers, enhanced connection of these nerves to muscle, and restoration of movement with their approach. The project, performed in collaboration with Dr. Lonnie Shea’s lab in U-M Biomedical Engineering, adds a new dimension to prior studies showing that modifying the cellular environment can enhance recovery after spinal cord injury.
“This award really represents a validation of the exciting and compelling research that can be performed when we step out of the comfort of our own spheres and collaborate with mentors in different disciplines, like Dr. Eva Feldman,” said Dr. Ali. “It is also gratifying from the sense of being able to provide recognition for those individuals who have supported this endeavor with trust, funding opportunities and their advice, namely Dr. Feldman and Dr. Michael Brenner. Lastly, it allows us, as a group, to really leave a footprint in the exciting field of peripheral nerve regeneration and hopefully launch additional meaningful endeavors.”
The mission of the COSM is to bring together the membership of the COSM societies, otolaryngology residents in training, medical students and allied health professionals for the purpose of disseminating and exchanging the latest cutting edge clinical and basic scientific research. COSM is the premier educational and technology forum for providing the sub specialties in otolaryngology – head and neck surgery with an opportunity to improve and expand their knowledge and skills thereby enhancing the quality of patient care.