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Comments of Dr. Roland

From: Roland, John
Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2003, 10:03 AM
To: Gulya, Julie (NIH/NIDCD)
Subject: RE: Temporal Bone Workshop

Dear Dr. Gulya,

I cannot attend the workshop next week due to circumstances beyond my control. I did want to come and learn and contribute. Here are my thoughts: My lab is inactive. It was started by Dr. Sekhar many years ago and he did good work and has a few hundred specimens. These were scattered about the institution in closets and were doomed to disposal when I discovered the problem. Dr. Sekhar's lab was taken over by a basic scientist with central auditory pathways work and thought that histology was of no further value. I salvaged all the bones and records, found a good storage place, and have the records; some of the material is digitized. I am not a histopathologist but do dabble in the work and enjoy the learning process. Our new chairman is probably not interested in investing in a functioning lab as he has interests in genetics and has begun the process of establishing his own lab/labs.

I have requested, intermittantly, over the years that the registry supply staff and possibly a person to come and see what we have, finish the computer database and have the specimens available to anyone that might have a need or interest. To date this has not been done. I am listed as the lab coordinator but really I am only doing this out of a desire to keep it alive. I mostly do temporal bone work with CI electrode development, animal studies related to the e-phys. effects of trauma, etc. I am also involved in the ABI and the AMI projects and do cadaver and animal work. This is really not temporal bone work. That said: I feel that temporal bone histopathology is very valuable and that funding for the work should continue. Perhaps a fellowship position, maybe rotating through some good labs around the country, is a good idea, and have it funded in whole or part by the NIH.

This fellowship would then provide training that would set up the individual for academic placement either in an existing lab or a start up lab. There are many examples of good clinician/scientists. The training should include, but not be limited to, histopathologic techniques (EM, H and E, special sectioning techniques, etc.), normal and pathologic evaluations, cell counting techniques, correlation with audiometric data and imaging data, grant writing and project development training, statistics, etc. Salary and travel money to visit and learn in other labs should be included. I feel that there should be some way to help the "distressed" labs, such as ours. If it were not for the weekend efforts of my fellow and me, the specimens would have gone down the drain. We do continue to harvest and send specimens when we get the requests. There undoubtedly is material in the specimens that should be digitized and made available to all. Funding for genetic information extraction, from old or new bones, and for new techniques of analysis, evaluation would seem appropriate. As to dollar amounts and the exact curriculum for a training fellowship, there are individuals more qualified than I on the panel.

I am sorry for the late notification of my inability to participate but I would like to know the outcome of the meeting and will continue to support the temporal bone work and the registry. Let me know how I can help.


J. Thomas Roland, Jr., MD, Assoc. Professor
Director Otology/Neurotology
New York University School of Medicine