Michael J. McKenna, M.D.

Harvard Medical School

Professor of Otolaryngology

Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Director, Surgical Skills Laboratory, Department of Otolaryngology
Senior Scientist

Research Summary

Research Area Affiliations

Research Summary

Dr. McKenna’s research focuses on understanding the pathophysiology and pathogenesis of otosclerosis, a bone disease of the human otic capsule that is among the most common causes of hearing loss in the general population.  He began this line of investigation as a medical student and has maintained a focus in this area for over thirty years.  Most recently, his focus has shifted to the development of better forms of treatment based on insights gained from basic science investigations. Dr. McKenna’s contributions in elucidating the possible role of measles virus, genetic and molecular mechanisms in the development of otosclerosis can be considered to be among the most significant contributions in the area of otosclerosis research in the last fifty years.  His research has received peer-review funding from the NIH over the last twenty years.  Dr. McKenna is realistically hopeful that the by-product of this research will in the near future in lead to better forms of treatment and prevention.

Select Publications

Kinetics of reciprocating drug delivery to the inner ear. J Control Release. Pararas EE, Chen Z, Fiering J, Mescher MJ, Kim ES, McKenna MJ, Kujawa SG, Borenstein JT, Sewell WF. 2011 Jun 10;152(2):270-7. Epub 2011 Mar 6.

Superior canal dehiscence syndrome associated with the superior petrosal sinus in pediatric and adult patients. McCall AA, McKenna MJ, Merchant SN, Curtin HD, Lee DJ. Otol Neurotol. 2011 Oct;32(8):1312-9.

Bevacizumab for progressive vestibular schwannoma in neurofibromatosis type 2: a retrospective review of 31 patients. Plotkin SR, Merker VL, Halpin C, Jennings D, McKenna MJ, Harris GJ, Barker FG 2nd. Otol Neurotol. 2012 Aug;33(6):1046-52.

Third-generation bisphosphonates for treatment of sensorineural hearing loss in otosclerosis. Quesnel AM, Seton M, Merchant SN, Halpin C, McKenna MJ. OtolNeurotol. 2012 Oct;33(8):1308-14.

Correlation of computed tomography with histopathology in otosclerosis. Quesnel AM, Moonis G, Appel J, O'Malley JT, McKenna MJ, Curtin HD, Merchant SN. Otol Neurotol. 2013 Jan;34(1):22-8. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0b013e318277a1f7. PubMed PMID: 23235550; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3523308.

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B.A. University of California, San Diego, 1978
M.D. University of Southern California School of Medicine, 1982

Postgraduate Training

Internship in General Surgery, Huntington Memorial Hospital, 1982
Residency in General Otolaryngology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 1988
Fellowship in Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery, House Ear Institute, 1989

Professional Memberships (select)

1988    American Medical Association, Member
1988    Massachusetts Medical Society, Member
1988    American Academy of Otolaryngology, Member
1994    International Otopathology Society (a.k.a. The Schuknecht Society), Member, For the period of 1997-present, Secretary-Treasurer
1995    American College of Surgeons, Member
1995    American Neurotology Society, Member
1995    Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, Member
1996    New England Otolaryngological Society, Member
1999    American Otological Society, Member
1999    Otosclerosis Study Group, Member
2003    Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum, Member

Honors (select)

1980    Alpha Omega Alpha
1990    The Fisons Travel Award
2003    William Montgomery Award for Excellence in Teaching
2009    Presidential Citation, American Otological Society

Advisory Boards (select)

1998 - present    Scientific Advisory Council, Member, House Ear Institute, LA
2000 - present    Advisory Group, Member, University of Minnesota Otitis Media Research Center
2010 - present    Combined Steering Committee/Advisory Committee-Temporal Bone Consortium

Teaching (select)

Medical School Course:
1990-present    Advanced Clinical Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Otology section, 1 medical student, 1 day per month, 12 months
Graduate Medical Course/Seminar/Invited Teaching Presentation:
1992 - present:    "Basic Sciences in Otolaryngology", lecturer, 5 residents, 2 to 4 research fellows, 1 to 2 medical students, 8 to 12 hours per year
1994 - present:    "Clinical Aspects of Speech and Hearing", Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, course #HST 724, teaching faculty, 7 to 8 graduate students, 16 to 24 hours per week for 4 months