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Labadie named chair of Otolaryngology at MUSC

Jul. 30, 2021, 1:03 PM


by Jill Clendening

Robert Labadie, MD, PhD

Robert Labadie, MD, PhD, professor of Otolaryngology and Biomedical Engineering, has been named professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) College of Medicine in Charleston, South Carolina.

Labadie, who also serves as vice chair of research for the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, is expected to begin his role at MUSC on Jan. 1, 2022. He departs after 20 years of service to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Otolaryngology and Vanderbilt University’s School of Engineering.

Labadie, holder of the Robert H. Ossoff, DMD, MD, Directorship for Translational Research in Otolaryngology, was an early recruit to the Division of Otology and Neurotology. He was tasked with building the Department of Otolaryngology’s research enterprise, and he played a principal role in the department’s rise to a No. 2 ranking in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.

“Dr. Labadie’s contributions to the field of minimally invasive cochlear implant surgery, and particularly to image-guided otologic surgery, are significant,” said David Haynes, MD, director of Otology and Neurotology and interim chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (O-HNS). “Throughout his career, he has mentored many investigators, residents, fellows and faculty at VUMC. As a tireless administrator, investigator and a skilled and caring surgeon, he has served as a role model to many. He has given the gift of hearing to countless grateful patients, and we expect him to continue his great work in Charleston.”

During his two decades at Vanderbilt, Labadie fostered the development of extensive collaborations between the departments of Otolaryngology, Engineering, and Hearing and Speech Sciences. He also established and directed the Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering (VISE)-affiliated Computer-assisted Otologic Surgery (CAOS) lab, where a team developed a customized, CT-guided method of programming cochlear implants, devices that restore hearing for individuals with severe-to-profound hearing loss. VISE is an interdisciplinary, trans-institutional program that supports collaborations between engineers and physicians to improve patient care.

“Rob Labadie is a founding member of the Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering, and he has served on its steering committee since its creation,” said VISE director Benoit Dawant, PhD, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering. “Dr. Labadie has been key to the development and expansion of the institute. He has led numerous interdisciplinary projects with several VISE engineering collaborators, and he has also served as a co-PI with Dr. Michael Miga on an NIH T-32 training grant that has supported VISE Ph.D. students. I wish him the very best with the next phase of his career, but he will be greatly missed as a leader, colleague, scientist, clinician and mentor.”

“Twenty years ago this month I was welcomed into the Vanderbilt family and find it bittersweet to leave but am excited about this extraordinary opportunity at MUSC,” Labadie said. “I am indebted to so many — too many to list here — but especially to Robert Ossoff, DMD, MD, the chair who hired me and gave me my first opportunity; David Haynes, MD, who welcomed me into his practice; Roland Eavey, MD, who empowered me to build research within O-HNS; and so many other O-HNS faculty members.

“The Vanderbilt community has been incredibly collaborative, and I have enjoyed working with engineering faculty, hearing and speech science faculty, and so many others. But the biggest thanks goes to those who shared the ‘boots on the ground’ experience including the trainees and staff, especially the nurse who I worked side-by-side with in clinic nearly every Tuesday for the past 20 years, Georgette Smiley, RN, who recently retired. I will echo what so many others have said – the special thing about Vanderbilt is the people.”

Labadie is an internationally recognized leader in otology and has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed papers, multiple book chapters and a textbook on image-guided surgery. He has served in leadership roles in every major national and international otologic society. This includes delivering the prestigious William House Lectureship at the American Neurotology Society meeting and his election to the Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum (CORLAS), an international otolaryngology society, both of which occurred in 2018.

“I am disappointed that I will not work with Dr. Labadie as the newest member of the Vanderbilt Otolaryngology family, but am very excited for him to take on this next chapter of his outstanding academic career,” said Eben Rosenthal, MD, the John and Ann Doerr Medical Director and associate director of Clinical Care with Stanford Cancer Center, who joins VUMC in October as chair of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

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