Link: University of Iowa

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Alumni Interview

 Bruce Gantz, M.D.

Bruce Gantz, M.D.

68BS, 74MD, 80MS, 80R otolaryngology
Professor and Head of Otolaryngology
University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa
2005 Recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for Service

"Sometimes as you go along in your career, you take for granted how far you've come," said Gantz. "I am fortunate to be in an institution that allows people like me to follow their dreams."

Bruce Gantz, MD, UI professor and head of otolaryngology, was surprised to learn of his 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award. "I was honored and shocked to hear of my nomination, with so many outstanding people who have graduated from the College," he said.

Born in New York City, Gantz moved to Lake City in northwest Iowa at an early age. "Iowa was really the only school I applied to after a detour with dental school," Gantz said. He went on to complete his training at the UI and today is known for his work with cochlear implants.

Research resources are among the reasons Gantz appreciates his alma mater. "There is great opportunity for research here," he said. "There are not many institutions that would have the patient population to let me conduct research even early in my career."

UI faculty members also provided the support he needed. "I had excellent mentors like Dr. Max Abramson, who helped me grow as a young faculty member, and Dr. Brian McCabe, a very innovative leader in the field who let me spend a year at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, where I could study different surgical strategies," Gantz recalled. Today Gantz holds the faculty chair named for McCabe.

Gantz defines his most significant accomplishment thus far as development of the short electrode cochlear implant, currently in an expanded FDA clinical trial. The implant provides a remedy for people with less severe, high frequency hearing loss who have difficulty clearly understanding words.

"It's very rewarding to develop something new and actually have it work," said Gantz. "This minimally invasive device keeps the inner ear alive, and might provide access for the future delivery of molecular treatments to the inner ear."

Gantz has made other clinical contributions in cholesteatoma, facial nerve disorders and skull base surgery. He has helped establish the National Institute for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and encourage federal support for biomedical research.

His current priorities include developing the Iowa Center for Auditory Regeneration. "We are hiring outstanding new faculty members and a new molecular scientist to really take a look at neuroregeneration and how genes control hearing loss," said Gantz. "We are also working toward incorporating gene and molecular therapy."

Several of Gantz's students, residents and fellows have gone on to make their own contributions to otolaryngology. Teaching is an obligation he eagerly fulfills, a chance to return the opportunities given him.

"Sometimes as you go along in your career, you take for granted how far you've come," said Gantz. "I am fortunate to be in an institution that allows people like me to follow their dreams."

Contact

Medicine Alumni Society
medicine-alumni@uiowa.edu
Phone: 319-335-8886
Toll Free: 877-MEDIOWA
Fax: 319-384-1746