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Department of Otorhinolaryngology


  • High Content Imaging

    High content imaging to decode human immune cell interactions in health and allergic diseases

    • Project Number: LSC18_022
    • Project Lead: Johann Danzl, IST Austria
    • Project Partner: Stanford University / Department of Pathology, Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences / Division of Internal Medicine 2 (University Hospital St. Pölten), Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences / Division of Otorhinolaryngology (University Hospital St. Pölten)
    • Duration: 36 months starting from 01.12.2019


    Allergic disease is a clinical and societal burden in Lower Austria and elsewhere. Severe food allergy can manifest as anaphylactic reaction with potentially fatal outcome. IgE-mediated food allergy in children is increasing, affecting 3-8% of under 4 year olds, with peanut as most common specificity. IgE-producing B-cells and IgE-primed mast cells are critical to TH2 driven, Type I hypersensitivity allergic reactions, but the full scope of altered immunity in these patients and the basis for oral immunotherapy efficacy are unknown, particularly in the solid tissues of the human body.
    Here, we propose to analyze the cellular organization of the human immune system in health and allergic disease. Our interdisciplinary consortium consists of Dr. Danzl (IST) providing optical imaging, Dr. Boyd (Stanford) contributing immunology expertise, and clinical partners Dr. Maieron and Dr. Sprinzl (St. Pölten) providing human patient tissue biopsies to link our scientific findings to the clinic.
    We will further develop imaging technology to characterize transcriptional profiles of single cells in native tissue context. This identifies cell types, subtypes, and activation states, as well as their spatial arrangements and interactions. We will define molecularly-informed cellular microenvironments or “tissue niches” by detecting hundreds to thousands of different mRNAs in highly multiplex single-molecule RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization. We will also develop multiplex protein imaging, with the same goal of decoding patterns of spatial relationships.
    We will verify detection of known spatial organization features in human tonsils and Peyer’s patches. We will then extract novel information by defining cell type specific “interactomes” and specific microenvironments or niches based on detailed molecular and spatial information in our multiplex imaging.
    We then focus on gastrointestinal (GI) mucosa-associated immune cells and characterize microenvironments of lymphocytes and effector cells. We emphasize IgE-producing B-cells/plasma cells, and evaluate how their microenvironments differ from those of B-cells and plasma cells producing other antibody isotypes, such as IgA or IgG4. The latter may serve a protective role against allergic disease.
    We translate these scientific questions to the clinic by multiplex analysis of patient GI biopsies from a Stanford peanut allergy immunotherapy trial. We hypothesize that not only abundance and location of specific isotype-producing B-cells are shifted in allergy but that specific microenvironments act as major drivers of disease and therapeutic responses.
    Multiplex single cell analysis of GI biopsies of the same patients pre and post oral immunotherapy will identify therapy-related changes in cellular composition, phenotype, and tissue architecture. We propose to define
    multi-parameter, spatially informed biopsy biomarkers predictive of treatment response as basis for a personalized medicine approach to immunotherapy.

  • Future of Hearing

    Future of Hearing

    • Project Number: LSC14_027
    • Project Lead: Georg Mathias Sprinzl, Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences / Division of Otorhinolaryngology (University Hospital St. Pölten)
    • Project Partner: Hannover Medical School / Biomaterial Engineering, CEST
    • Duration: 37 months starting from 01.02.2016


    Severe deafness (1.7% of the total population) leads to social isolation, disability and early dementia. Hearing aids and cochlear implants (CI) bring help here, but eliminate the socio-economic effects only partially. The reason lies in the failure of the so-called "Cocktail Party Ability", where with a healthy hearing one can focus on a single conversation in a noisy room.
    This data processing is not found in the cortex, but the latter actively controls a filtering in the auditory organ (cochlea) via a down-going multilevel, efferent control. Despite all signal processing in hearing aids and CI, this unconscious regulation is difficult to imitate and their regulation by patients remains almost unused because of inconvenience. What is missing is the technical closing of the extended loop consisting of cochlea, cortex and hearing aid / CI.
    With Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI), the connection of the cortex or underlying stations of auditory efference to hearing aids could be possible in the future, albeit to a large extent cooperation of audiologists, neurosurgeons, electrophysiologists, electrode developers, modeling neuro- and cognitive scientists is needed. The University Hospital St. Pölten (UKStP) of the Karl Landsteiner Private University for Health Sciences recommends itself as the initiator of a roadmap, which incorporates the state of knowledge into teaching, evaluates the application focus and communicates a consensus on challenges and milestones.
    In addition to this long-term approach, in the first, smaller experiments it will be tested if efferent control can work. These experiments as part of ongoing animal experiments and CI patients allow easier access to the efferent auditory system to test (compound action potential CAP, tonotopic action potentials in sensing CI mode and EEG leads). A success would be a tentative conclusion of efferent regulation allowing patients to learn to use the efference - possibly as intuitive as BCI-controlled limbs *. (* Collinger JL et al, J. Clin. Trans. Science (2014) 7, 1, 1752-8062)


    Totally implantable fiber-optic sound sensing system for cochlear- and middle-ear hearing aids

    • Project Number: LSC14_026
    • Project Lead: Nikolaus Dellantoni, ACMIT - Austrian Center for Medical Innovation and Technology
    • Project Partner: Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences / Division of Otorhinolaryngology (University Hospital St. Pölten), Resident Specialist
    • Duration: 42 months starting from 01.11.2015


    Implantable hearing aids are in clinical use since more than 25 years. These include cochlear implants (CI), auditory brainstem implants (ABIs), bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHA) and implantable middle-ear implants (MEI). The main challenge for all these implantable devices is a lack of reliability of the implantable microphone due to a constant decrease of the initial sensitivity after exploitation. In this project we propose a contactless fiber-optic sensing technique based on low-coherence interferometry for amplitude measurement of the hearing ossicles, e.g. incus or malleus. Our approach is physiologically fully justified because sound transmission to the inner ear can be realized without any obstacles, taking advantage of the natural amplification properties of the outer ear and the ear drum. There is no feedback noise and signal distortion due to decoupling the microphone from the actuator. The contactless method does not change the original properties of the acoustic signal at all and the ossicle chain stays intact. The distance of about 5 mm between the sensing fiber and ossicle is large enough to prevent scarring. This also allows to use the device in case of small quasi-static long-term movements of ossicle in the middle-ear, that usually occur during the children growth, or rather large quasi-static short-term movements in case of alternation of atmospheric pressure or chewing. The current prototype of the device can reach sensitivity of about 40db SPL and about 70db SPL in audio frequency range which now should be further improved to around 30 dB SPL by increasing the signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) of the system, accomplished by noise suppression of some individual parts of the system, like light source, fiber-optic link, photo receiver, or overall sensing configuration. Additionally, a more effective algorithm will be developed and embedded in a low-consumption DSP. The results will be verified by pre-clinical ex-vivo examination


  1. 17 Sep

    International Skills Lab Symposium 2020

    17. September 2020, 09:00 - 19. September 2020, 18:00
    Karl Landsteiner Privatuniversität für Gesundheitswissenschaften, Skills Lab, Trakt Y
  2. 14 Mar

    Open House - March 2020 - CANCELLED

    14. March 2020, 10:00 - 14:00
    Karl Landsteiner University, Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Straße 30,3500 Krems, Trakt Y, Erdgeschoß
  3. 27 Feb

    Neurophysiology symposium: Ion channels in nerve cells and associated diseases

    27. February 2020, 15:30 - 18:30
    Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences, Wing Y, Auditorium