The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) is pleased to welcome Ronna Hertzano, M.D., Ph.D., to head the newly formed Neurotology Branch in the Division of Intramural Research at NIH. Dr. Hertzano begins her new position on February 13, 2023. Previously, she served as a professor of otorhinolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
“I am so pleased that Dr. Hertzano will establish and head our new Neurotology Branch. She has the expertise and vision to lead transformative research in our hearing and balance portfolio,” said NIDCD Director Debara L. Tucci, M.D., M.S., M.B.A. “Her leadership and creativity will further our efforts to build an impactful translational research program with other surgeon-scientists, audiology clinician-scientists, and basic scientists in NIDCD’s intramural program.”
Dr. Hertzano will lead the new branch in basic, preclinical, and clinical research on the causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of hearing impairment, tinnitus, and balance disorders. She will oversee the branch’s clinical trials to identify promising new therapeutic strategies including pharmacologic, biologic, and gene therapies, and surgical procedures to advance treatments for these disorders.
Dr. Hertzano earned a B.S from Tel Aviv University, Israel, and an M.D. and a Ph.D. in human molecular genetics and biochemistry from the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. She completed her residency in otorhinolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, in 2011. She became an assistant professor in 2012, was promoted to associate professor in 2016, and became a full professor in 2021.
Her research has focused on the molecular basis of hearing loss by examining the regulatory events that lead to the proper development of the ear and the key regulators of genes involved in hair cell development. Her multidisciplinary approach includes studies on the molecular and genetic mechanisms of age-related hearing loss and noise-induced hearing loss, as well as the development of a genomic data portal for scientists to share and analyze gene expression data. This collaborative tool allows researchers who are studying hearing function to share, visualize, and analyze multi-omics studies (a field of biology that studies the “omics” — genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, or metabolomics).
Dr. Hertzano has been acknowledged with numerous awards for her research accomplishments. Most recently, she received the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s Honor Award and the American Otological Society Presidential Citation in 2022. In 2021, she was honored with the Researcher of the Year Award by the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She also has a special interest in mentoring students; her research team has included undergraduate and graduate students, medical students, residents, audiologists, and postdoctoral students.