Residents Receive Research Grants

November 12, 2011

Two residents in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School have been awarded competitive research grants to further their studies.

Elton Lambert, MD, a second-year resident, has received a $5,200 grant from the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA) Foundation for “Optical Rhinometry in Non-allergic Irritant Rhinitis: A Capsaicin Challenge Study.”  Dr. Lambert will explore diagnosis of non-allergic rhinitis – nasal inflammation unrelated to an allergic response, such as nasal irritation caused by various chemicals.

“The economic impact of chlorine, formaldehyde and other occupational irritants is considerable, but there is currently no objective means of diagnosing non-allergic rhinitis,” says Amber U. Luong, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of otorhinolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the UTHealth Medical School and an assistant professor of immunology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.  “Dr. Lambert will be determining whether patients with non-allergic rhinitis can be diagnosed with a noninvasive objective test that involves challenging the nose with a small amount of capsaicin and measuring blood flow changes using optical rhinometry.”

Third-year resident Nicholas Sorrel, MD, was awarded an $8,000 grant from the American Rhinologic Society to study the antimicrobial activity of manuka honey and its potential therapeutic use in acute bacterial exacerbations of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). The objective of the study, entitled “Manuka Honey for Management of CRS: An in vitro and in vivo Analysis,” is to compare the effectiveness of topical irrigations with manuka honey with the results of typical management by oral antibiotics.

“Patients with CRS tend to develop acute flare-ups of their disease, which is often accompanied by an obvious presence of pus in the sinuses,” Dr. Luong says.  “In CRS patients we frequently culture Staphylococcus aureus, which is thought to be the pathologic bacteria.  Typical management involves oral antibiotics.  However, in patients who have undergone sinus surgery, the open sinus cavities allow us an opportunity to treat these infections with topical medications. Manuka honey has shown antimicrobial activity specifically against Staphylococcus aureus, making it a treatment option in the management of chronic wounds in which the bacterium plays a role.  We’re hoping it will serve the same function in the sinuses.”

Faculty mentors for the residents are Dr. Luong; Martin J. Citardi, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; and Samer Fakhri, MD, FACS, FRCS(C), an associate professor and residency program director.

All three physicians specialize in the treatment of complicated sinus and nasal disease and are core physicians at Texas Sinus Institute and Texas Skull Base Physicians.

Schedule an Appointment

Patients can schedule an appointment over the telephone (713-486-5000), by booking directly onto physician schedules online, and through MyUTHealth, our patient portal.