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8 Robert WoodJohnson
dures in his skill set include auditory brainstem implants--
which no one else in New Jersey is currently doing--and
cochlear implants, both bilateral and for single-side deafness.
The department Dr. Wackym is building includes, to date, two
pediatric otolaryngologists and a facial plastic and reconstruc-
tive surgeon who is also board certified in sleep medicine, and
he is currently recruiting a rhinologist and anterior skull base
surgeon, a head and neck surgeon, and another pediatric oto-
An Ambitious Future Plan
r. Wackym is impressed with leadership at the medical
school, along with the vision of what the institution will
become. "So many dots can be connected here, and that was
one of the driving forces of my decision to come here," he
says. On the main Rutgers campus across the Raritan River,
he observes, "there are so many auditory and olfactory neu-
roscientists that if attributed to our department, we would be
ranked 12th in NIH research support nationally." The goal to
establish great clinical programs and recruit people into the
eight schools of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences res-
onates with those, like himself, who are interested in building
a collaborative network that in turn can significantly advance
clinical care.
He has already formed a working relationship with one of
the world's leading neuroscientists, Gary Aston-Jones, PhD,
director of the Brain Health Institute (BHI) at Rutgers and the
Murray and Charlotte Strongwater Endowed Chair in
Neuroscience and Brain Health. Dr. Wackym is contributing his
clinical knowledge and research expertise to the mission of the
BHI, which is to research the causes of and treatments for brain
and neural disorders. He is particularly interested in learning
the mechanisms that produce the cognitive dysfunction that
patients with third window syndrome have until their surgical
repair. He says, "How many other disorders that produce cog-
nitive dysfunction can be reversed with surgery? This offers a
unique window into cognitive neuroscience--a disorder pro-
ducing cognitive dysfunction and an opportunity for recovery."
With so many scientists at Rutgers who are enthusiastic to
have clinical partners, the process to move toward transla-
tional research in otolaryngology­head and neck surgery does
not need to be established from scratch. "This is just about
making the connections work so we can help people--like
Joey--regain their lives," says Dr. Wackym.
his is just
about making
the connections
work so we can help
people -- like Joey --
regain their lives,"
says P. Ashley
Wackym, MD.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with
the Department of Otolaryngology, please contact Dr. P.
Ashley Wackym at