Dunia E. Abdul-Aziz, M.D.

Massachusetts Eye and Ear 

Investigator, Tillotson Cell Biology Unit

Research Summary

Research Area Affiliations 

Research Summary

As a member of the Tillotson Cell Biology Unit, Dr. Dunia Abdul-Aziz studies basic biology of sensory hair cell development and regeneration. These hair cells reside in the hearing organ (the cochlea) and are crucial for converting wavelength of sound into electrical signal. Their loss is the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Dr. Abdul-Aziz seeks to understand basic mechanisms underlying their development and regeneration with the purpose of translating this knowledge to restore hearing. 

To this end, she is applying the latest scientific tools, including genetic targeting with CRISPR/Cas9 and organoid models to study the role of fundamental pathways, such as epigenetics, in inner ear development. 

Her scientific training include a Bachelor’s degree in biochemical sciences from Harvard University, where she received research training in Dr. Stephen Blacklow’s laboratory. Following completion of medical school in the Harvard-MIT combined program, Health Sciences and Technology (HST), she undertook a research track residency at Mass. Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School, where she began studying mechanisms of inner ear stem cell differentiation. She continued this project through her clinical fellowship in neurotology. 

As a surgeon-scientist, the otologic problems she has witnessed and treated at the bedside have driven her desire to seek out answers and, hopefully, better therapies in the laboratory.

Select Publications

Temporal bone computed tomography findings associated with feasibility of endoscopic ear surgery. Abdul-Aziz D, Kozin ED, Lin BM, Wong K, Shah PV, Remenschneider AK, Landegger LD, Juliano AF, Cohen MS, Lee DJ. Am J Otolaryngol. 2017 Jun 14;pii:S0196–0709(17)30333–2.

Global health-related publications in otolaryngology are increasing. Chambers KJ, Creighton F, Abdul-Aziz D, Cheney M, Randolph GW. Laryngoscope. 2015 Apr;125(4):848–51.

Surgical management of cervical chyloma following parathyroidectomy. Abdul-Aziz D, Tierney H, Deschler D. Auris Nasus Larynx. 2011;38:528–531.

Folding and binding integrity of variants of a prototype ligand-binding module from the LDL receptor possessing multiple alanine substitutions. Abdul-Aziz D, Fisher C, Beglova N, and Blacklow SC. Biochemistry. 2005;44(13):5075–5086.

A two-module region of the low-density lipoprotein receptor sufficient for formation of complexes with apolipoprotein E ligands. Fisher C, Abdul-Aziz D, Blacklow SC. Biochemistry. 2004;43(4):1037–1044.

View a complete list of publications on pubmed.gov »



BA, Biochemical Sciences, Harvard College, 2004
MD, Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School/MIT, 2009

Postgraduate Training 

Internship, General Surgery, Mass General, 2010 
Residency, Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Mass. Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School, 2016 
Fellowship, Neurotology, Mass. Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School, 2018

Professional Memberships 

2003–Present: Phi Beta Kappa
2005–Present: Massachusetts Medical Society
2005–Present: American Medical Assoication
2009–Present: American College of Surgeons
2009–Present: American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
2009–Present: AAO-HNS Women in Otolaryngology
2009–Present: New England Otolaryngological Society
2013–Present: Association of Research in Otolaryngology
2014–Present: International Society for Stem Cell Research
2015–Present: International Otopathology Society

Awards and Honors 

2004: Third Millennium Fellowship in Human Rights, Third Millennium Foundation/Harvard University
2013: First Place, Poster Presentation, Mass. Eye and Ear
2015: First Place, Oral Presentation, New England Otolaryngological Society Spring Meeting
2016: Jeffrey P. Harris, MD, PhD, Research Prize, Mass. Eye and Ear
2017: Yellen Young Investigator Award, Mass. Eye and Ear

Editorial Roles 

2015–Present: Otology and Neurotology