Benjamin S. Bleier, M.D., FACS

Harvard Medical School

Associate Professor of Otolaryngology

Massachusetts Eye and Ear


Surgeon, Sinus Center

Co-Director, Center for Thyroid Eye Disease and Orbital Surgery

Director, Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery

Research Summary

Research Area Affiliations

Research Summary

Dr. Bleier’s research focuses on the role of sinonasal mucosal barrier function in the pathogenesis of chronic rhinosinusitis. Using a combination of immunohistochemical and air-liquid interface primary epithelial culture techniques, his laboratory is working to determine how transmembrane epithelial proteins, such as the ATP-binding cassette(ABC) transporter P-glycoprotein, functions to promote the elaboration of Th1 and Th2 skewed cytokines in the setting of chronic inflammatory disease states (Figure).

An additional synergistic interest is studying mucosal permeability and epithelial responses to a variety of topical therapeutics and drug eluting polymers. Using both in vitro and animal models, Dr. Bleier is working to develop methods to bypass the blood-brain barrier using advanced endoscopic surgical techniques. He also studies the ability to couple these procedures with biocompatible materials to enhance the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders and local sinonasal disease.

If you wish to contribute to Dr. Benjamin Bleier's research, please contact Irene Hammer-Mclaughlin.


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Nasal Polyps

Proteomic Approach to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Rhinosinusitis

The Bleier Lab has discovered the presence of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) upregulation in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP). This overexpression directly leads to the selective epithelial hypersecretion of Th2 polarizing cytokines which are characteristic of CRSwNP. Dr. Bleier recently completed a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial demonstrating that inhibition of P-gp is effective in controlling both subjective and objective symptoms of nasal polyps. His lab has further shown that both P-gp and other proteins are released into nasal mucus via exosomes. These mucus derived exosomes or “rhinosomes” be non-invasively detected to generate a novel quantitative biosignature of CRS using a proteomic array. This biosignature can then be used to classify patients by disease endotype and guide therapy by predicting the specific inflammatory pathways which may be up or downregulated. Learn more »

Orbital Surgery

Endoscopic Orbital Surgery

Along with collaborators from the division of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery, Dr. Bleier, Co-Director of the Center for Thyroid Eye Disease and Orbital Surgery, is developing an array of minimally invasive surgical approaches to the orbit including new methods for orbital decompression and dacryocystorhinostomy. His team has pioneered an endoscopic method to remove orbital tumors entirely through the nose while avoiding any external incisions. Learn more »

Nasal Drug Delivery

Trans-Nasal Drug Delivery to the Central Nervous System

The Bleier Lab has developed the first and only method to permanently bypass the blood-brain barrier using nasal mucosal grafts. Dr. Bleier and his collaborators have used this method to deliver high molecular weight proteins and nucleic acids to the brain which would otherwise be restricted by the blood-brain barrier. This approach has been recognized by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Boston MagazineHarvard Medicine Magazine, and Scientist Magazine. Current projects are directed at using this delivery pathway to develop new treatments for neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's disease. Learn more »