Faculty Research Highlights

Listed below are selected faculty research activities within the Division of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery and key investigators with whom we have collaborated or who have mentored resident research activities.

General Otolaryngology

Kourosh Parham, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery

Dr. Parham is a general otolaryngologist whose current primary focus of research is on the development of otologic biomarkers that may facilitate early diagnosis of inner ear disorders involving both sensorineural hearing loss and vertigo. This work is takes advantage of the unique inner ear proteins that make its specialized functions possible. This work is currently funded by American Tinnitus Association Donald Bowman Innovation in Tinnitus Research Grant Award to investigate serum prestin as a biomarker for tinnitus (October 2021 – September 2022). Recent publications include:

Parham, K., Sohal M, Petremann M, Romanet C, Broussy A, Ba CTV, Dyherfjeld-Johnsen, J. Noise-induced trauma produces a temporal pattern of change in serum levels of the outer hair cell biomarker prestin. Hearing Research.  2019.

Mulry, E. & Parham, K. Inner ear proteins as potential biomarkers. Otology & Neurotology. 2020.

Naples, J. Rizkh, H., Soda, D., Rahman, K., Ruckstein, J., Parham, K. Evaluating the role of otologic biomarkers to differentiate Meniere’s disease and vestibular migraine. Ear & Hearing. 2021.

Parker, A., Parham, K., Skoe, E. Reliability of serological prestin levels in humans and the relation to otoacoustic emissions, a functional measure of outer hair cell. Ear & Hearing. 2021.

Parham Research

Other areas of interest include thyroid/parathyroid disease:

McKenna, K., Dunbar, N., Parham, K. Why is Primary Hyperparathyroidism More Severe in Children? Medical Hypotheses. 2021.

McKenna, K., Rahman, K., Parham, K.  Otoconia degeneration as a consequence of primary hyperparathyroidism. Medical Hypotheses. 2020.

Todd Falcone, M.D., Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery

Dr. Falcone maintains broad interests that range from wellness to infectious disease. His main research project is currently focused on tolerability of diluted povidone-iodine in the sinonasal and oral cavities as antisepsis in healthy volunteers during the Covid-19 pandemic, supported by COVID-RSF grant from the UConn Office of the Vice President for Research.

Examples of his recent publications include:

Caceres C, Kreicher KL, Wu Q, Falcone TE. Intraosseous Hemangioma of the Ethmoid Sinus. Ear Nose Throat J. 2021

Mills MK, Sanders MM, Falcone TE. Sarcoidosis Causing Complete Nasal Obstruction. Ear Nose Throat J. 2021

Kashat L, Falcone T, Carter B, Parham K, Kavanagh KR. Taking a Systematic Approach to Resident Wellness: A Pilot Study. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2020


Daniel Roberts, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery

Dr. Roberts’ main research focus is on otology/neurotology exemplified by effort to define the genome of acoustic neuromas. This work has been funded by grants from the House Ear Institute and engages Jackson Laboratory resources and expertise. Insights form this work may identify new treatment modalities in management of acoustic neuromas.

Other research projects include investigations of the impact of cochlear implants on tinnitus suppression and collaborating with other investigators here at UConn to define the midbrain substrates that may be contributing to tinnitus. This work is funded by the Department of Defense.

Another active project is the characterization of the microbiome in the ear, sinuses, throat and larynx, also being carried out in collaboration with The Jackson Laboratory.

Roberts Presentation

Examples of his recent publications include:

Mallen JR, Chiu J, Marquis H, Ottochian A, Perez E, Kuo CL, Otto S, Ryan T, Roberts DS. Quantifying tinnitus suppression in cochlear implantation using tinnitus interval-limited tracking. Laryngoscope. 2020.

Mallen JR, Roberts DS. SCUBA Medicine for otolaryngologists: Part I. Diving into SCUBA physiology and injury prevention. Laryngoscope. 2020.

Mallen JR, Roberts DS. SCUBA Medicine for Otolaryngologists: Part II. Diagnostic, Treatment, and Dive Fitness Recommendations. Laryngoscope. 2020.

Conference Presentation


Denis Lafreniere, M.D., Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery

Dr. Lafreniere is amongst the pioneers of integration of objective taste and smell testing into clinical practice. He is also actively investigating posterior glottis stenosis using experimental models.

An example of his publications includes:

Lafreniere, D., & Parham, K. The First Cranial Nerve: The Pathway to the Fountain of Youth? Ear Nose Throat Journal.  2018.

Pediatric Otolarngology

Katherine Kavanagh, M.D., Associate Professor, Connecticut Children's, Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery

Dr. Kavanagh is a pediatric otolaryngologists who actively investigates methods and protocols to improve airway management. Another focus of Dr. Kavanagh’s research improvement of resident education through development and integration of novel simulation models for otolaryngology training and well being.

Examples of her recent publications include:

Mehta K, Schwartz M, Falcone TE, Kavanagh KR. Tracheostomy Care Education for the Nonsurgical First Responder: A Needs-Based Assessment and Quality Improvement Initiative. OTO Open. 2019.

Kavanagh KR, Murray N. A novel, low fidelity simulator for laryngotracheal reconstruction. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2019.

Valdez TA, Kudaravalli S, Kavanagh KR. Combined web and haptic simulation system: A pilot study. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2020.

Kashat L, Carter B, Mosha M, Kavanagh KR. Mindfulness Education for Otolaryngology Residents: A Pilot Study. OTO Open. 2020.

Sparks D, Kavanagh KR, Vargas JA, Valdez TA. 3D printed myringotomy and tube simulation as an introduction to otolaryngology for medical students. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2020.

Ear diagram


Seth M. Brown, M.D., MDA, FACS, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery

Belachew Tessema, M.D., FACS, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery

Drs. Tessema and Brown investigate mechanisms underlying of sinonasal disease and their respective treatments.  During the Covid-19 Pandemic, the put their insights to work to protect patients and healthcare workers by introducing Povidone-Iodine rinses into the literature.

Examples of their recent publications include:

Tessema B, Frank S, Bidra A. SARS-CoV-2 Viral Inactivation Using Low Dose Povidone-Iodine Oral Rinse-Immediate Application for the Prosthodontic Practice.

J Prosthodont. 2020.

Frank S, Capriotti J, Brown SM, Tessema B.  Povidone-Iodine Use in Sinonasal and Oral Cavities: A Review of Safety in the COVID-19 Era. Ear Nose Throat J. 2020.

Pelletier JS, Tessema B, Frank S, Westover JB, Brown SM, Capriotti JA. Efficacy of Povidone-Iodine Nasal and Oral Antiseptic Preparations Against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Ear Nose Throat J. 2021.