Message From the Chairman

Chairman’s Address for Fall, 2016

This Fall I would like to highlight contrasting stories about innovation: innovation at the beginning of one’s career and innovation recognized after a lifetime of contribution. Mike Merzenich has now returned from Oslo, Norway where he received the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience in recognition of his lifetime achievement in advancing our knowledge pertaining to neural plasticity. As you know, Mike was recruited to UCSF in the early 70’s to provide scientific rigor to the concept of cochlear implantation. It is amazing how disseminated that technology has become and how the indications for implantation continue to expand. UCSF is on the forefront of this work with Charles Limb leading our Division of Otology and Neurotology and our powerful presence in pediatric care with our combined faculty team at UCSF Benioff Oakland and UCSF Benioff San Francisco Children’s Hospitals. To support work at the beginning of a career, a good example is embodied in one philanthropic organization’s passionate pursuit of advancement in research concerning hearing loss and communication disorders. David Schindler has ably contributed to the research careers of others through his multi decade work with HRI (Hearing Research, Inc.). HRI has funded many studies which have advanced our knowledge of the underpinnings of hearing loss. At the same time, HRI has jumpstarted the careers of many new investigators within our department and allowed these scientists to enjoy a higher degree of freedom in their pursuit of federal funding. HRI has supported work in the Coleman and Epstein labs each year and some of the glow from the solid gold Kavli medallion which Mike brought back from Norway certainly reflects on HRI’s constant mission.

We are pleased to welcome many new faculty to the UCSF team: Jeffrey Sharon, MD from Johns Hopkins is a vestibular otologist, Patricia Loftus, MD from Emory is a rhinologist and skull base surgeon, Jordan Virbalas, MD from University of Colorado joined the pediatric team, and Dan Johnson, PhD from University of Pittsburgh joined the head and neck oncology laboratory founded by Associate Vice Chancellor Jennifer Grandis, MD.

I hope to see you at one of our upcoming CME courses: the UCSF Pacific Rim Update in Honolulu, Hawaii in February or the UCSF Otolaryngology Update in San Francisco in November, 2017.


Andrew H. Murr, MD
Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Roger Boles, MD Endowed Chair in Otolaryngology Education
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery