Surgery at Otolaryngology

ABOUT US

Otolaryngology which is co-located at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital is a world leader in the treatment of hearing loss and ear (otological) surgery. The Department remains at the fore-front of research into cochlear implantation, and the preservation of hearing and balance function while operating on the inner ear. The direct interface that we have between lab-based or clinical research, and direct otolaryngology patient care leads to highly productive translational research outcomes. Laboratory research seeks to understand the biological response of the inner ear to surgery and other types of stress, and applies drug delivery, gene therapy and regenerative strategies to the protection of restoration of hearing and vestibular function. We have a strong track record in developing new therapies in the laboratories and bringing them to clinical trials.

The Department is a leader in the application of Virtual Reality to surgical simulation, working closely with engineers and psychologists at the University, together with commercial partners to create sophisticated 3D rendered simulations that provide force feedback, and real-time training.

Otolaryngology has an interest in ear infection (otitis media) amongst Indigenous Australians, as this leads to early childhood hearing loss and contributes to disadvantage amongst these children. Our focus is upon large scale clinical trials.

OUR ACADEMIC LEAD

Stephen O'Leary

Professor Stephen O’Leary holds the William Gibson Chair of Otolaryngology at the University of Melbourne, and is a Senior Specialist in the Otology and Cochlear Implant Clinics at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.  His interests include inner ear function and protection in surgery, cochlear implantation, drug delivery to the ear and surgical simulation.  Professor O’Leary is a Practitioner Fellow of the National Medical Research Council (Australia), and dedicates his time to both research into Otology and surgical practice.

KEY RESEARCH AREAS

The direct interface that we have between lab-based or clinical research, and direct otolaryngology patient care leads to highly productive translational research outcomes. Laboratory research seeks to understand the biological response of the inner ear to surgery and other types of stress, and applies drug delivery, gene therapy and regenerative strategies to the protection of restoration of hearing and vestibular function. We have a strong track record in developing new therapies in the laboratories and bringing them to clinical trials.
Otolaryngology is a leader in the application of Virtual Reality to surgical simulation, working closely with engineers and psychologists at the University, together with commercial partners to create sophisticated 3D rendered simulations that provide force feedback, and real-time training.
Otolaryngology has an interest in ear infection (otitis media) amongst Indigenous Australians, as this leads to early childhood hearing loss and contributes to disadvantage amongst these children. Our focus is upon large scale clinical trials.

LEAD RESEARCHERS

Dr Carrie Newbold

Project Leader, Interface Optimisation and Assessment, The HEARing CRC.

Carrie’s work involves assessing the feasibility of new materials and techniques to produce cochlear implant electrodes that provide reduced power usage and increased precision of current distribution in the cochlea.
Email:  newboldc@unimelb.edu.au

Dr Karina Needham

Senior Research Fellow, Head of the Hearing Neurosciences Laboratory.

Karina’s focus is auditory neurophysiology and the role that ion channels play in controlling neuronal function in health, and disease.
Project:  Hearing Neurosciences
Email:  k.needham@unimelb.edu.au

Dr Sudanthi Wijewickrema

Research Fellow, Virtual Reality Surgery Simulation Group

Email:  sudanthi.wijewickrema@unimelb.edu.au

RESEARCH GROUPS

Virtual Reality Surgery Simulation
Research Group Leader - Professor Stephen O'Leary

Indigenous Ear Health
Research Group Leader - Professor Stephen O'Leary

Hearing Neurosciences
Dr Karina Needham

Biomedical Engineering for Cochlear Implants
Research Group Leader - Dr Carrie Newbold

FACILITIES

Research2

Research

OTO-Lab

Histology Services offered by the Department of Surgery/ Otolaryngology

Histology is the art of science creating beautiful sections of cells and tissue samples for microscopic analysis used for diagnostic or research purposes.

The Otolaryngology Histology service has over 16 years of experience in producing high quality sections for research purposes from a variety of samples embedded in resin, paraffin, frozen, or parlodion.
Our clients include research institutes, external clients both International and Australia wide, as well as other University research departments.

Our main discipline is cochlea histology, which is a quite a challenging structure to work on combining bone, neurons, and fine membranes all in one package.

The Services we can provide include:  Processing, cutting, and staining of fixed tissue using a variety of different embedding media and microtomes.

Listed below are the pros and cons for each type of embedding media and associated tissue processing

Spurr’s Resin – Great for morphology
-   Cutting thickness is 2µm
-   Can be processed for electron microscopy (EM)
-   Histological stains only

Paraffin – Routine diagnostic method
-   Cutting thickness between 5µm and 10µm depending on tissue  type
-   Histological or immunohistochemical stains are possible on  these sections

Frozen - Less trauma to the tissue sample (no heat or harsh chemicals)
-    Cutting thickness between 5µm and 20µm depending on tissue  type
-    Histological or immunohistochemical stains are possible on these sections

Parlodion – For larger specimens
-   Cutting thickness is 20µm using a Sledge microtome
-   Free floating sections
-   Histological or immunohistochemical staining are possible on these sections

Histological staining completed by hand (not automatic stainer) and customized for each tissue sample to optimize the results.  The stains we offer include the standard Haematoxylin and Eosin (H + E) stain, as well as special stains such as Gram, Thionin, Masson trichrome to name a few.

Training in some techniques are available and equipment such as the cryostat is available for hire (with training) to cut your own samples.

Contact Prudence Nielsen for a quote
pnielsen@unimelb.edu.au
or call 9929 8389 between 7am and 3pm Monday - Wednesday

Laboratory Address
Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital
Level 5 Peter Howson Wing
32 Gisborne Street, East Melbourne,
Victoria 3002

Contact Us

Executive Assistants to Professor Stephen O'Leary

Miriam Solomons
Email:  msolo@unimelb.edu.au

Cassandra Lewis
Email:   cassandra.lewis@unimelb.edu.au

Ph:  +61 3 9929 8366

Research Enquiries

Nora Hanafi
Email:   shanafi@unimelb.edu.au

LOCATION:

Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital,
Level 5 / 32 Gisborne Street,
East Melbourne, Victoria 3002