Lawrence R. Lustig, MD

Academic Appointments

  • Howard W. Smith Professor of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery

Current Administrative Positions

  • Chair, Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery
Lawrence R. Lustig, MD

One of the nation's leading experts in hearing loss, Lawrence Lustig, MD, was appointed chair of the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and otolaryngologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, effective July 1, 2014.

“We are very pleased to welcome Larry Lustig to our faculty,” said Lee Goldman, MD, dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine, Columbia University Medical Center. “His experience and success leading major research and clinical programs will help us continue to grow our Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery’s basic, clinical, and translational research programs and our clinical enterprise, including even stronger collaboration with faculty across our departments.”

“Dr. Lustig’s extensive background in research and clinical care for hearing loss and related disorders will be pivotal to our continued provision of innovative, outstanding and patient-centered care, said Steven J. Corwin, MD, chief executive officer of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. “His expertise adds significantly to the depth and breadth of our ENT program, which addresses a range of health issues including hearing loss, benign and cancerous tumors, nasal and sinus disorders, voice and swallowing issues.”

Dr. Lustig treats the full spectrum of ear disorders in adults and children, as well as skull base disease. His specialties include skull base surgery, cochlear implants, the genetics of hearing loss, cochlear gene therapy, balance disorders, and hair cell physiology. He has led several NIH-funded research projects examining the underlying causes of hearing loss, including a recently completed a two-year $550,000 grant to explore cochlear gene therapy as a potential approach to treating children born with genetic forms of hearing loss.

This work stems from an initial study in which he and colleagues demonstrated that the inner hair cell glutamate-transporter VGLUT3 is integral to the development of hearing, while a mutation of the transporter causes early profound hearing loss. In follow-up studies, they demonstrated that virally mediated gene therapy can successfully restore the hearing phenotype in a mouse model of genetic deafness. Based on this work, they are currently exploring additional models of genetic deafness to see if these results can be duplicated. NIH has awarded a five-year grant to explore the use of virally mediated gene therapy to regenerate spiral (cochlear) ganglia—nerve cells that transport sound from the cochlea to the brain—to enable the sense of hearing. Dr. Lustig’s interdisciplinary research includes collaboration with an orthopedic surgery researcher at UCSF to study cochlear bone development. Using animal models and molecular techniques applied to bone growth and development, they are looking at how the material properties of bone enclosing the inner ear contribute to hearing.

They anticipate that their findings may help further understanding of how metabolic abnormalities cause certain types of hearing loss, including otosclerosis, Padget’s disease, and other conditions that cause defective bone development. Additional collaboration has included work with a pharmacologist at UCSF, where Dr. Lustig studied the mechanism of hearing loss caused by platinum-based chemotherapies. Dr. Lustig has published more than 125 articles in peer-reviewed journals, as well as book chapters. He co-edited a textbook, “Clinical Neurotology: Diagnosing and Managing Disorders of Hearing, Balance and the Facial Nerve.” In 2004, Dr. Lustig joined UCSF, where he has served as chief of the Division of Otology and Neurotology at both UCSF and San Francisco General Hospital, director of the Douglas Grant Cochlear Implant Center, clinical chief of the otolaryngology service on the Parnassus campus, and co-director of the Center for Balance and Falls.

Before joining UCSF, Dr. Lustig served on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University, where he was a member of the Johns Hopkins Listening Center and cochlear implant team. He also completed a fellowship in otology, neurotology, and skull base surgery at Hopkins. Dr. Lustig is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Otologic Society, the American Auditory Society, the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, the American Neurotology Society, and the North American Skull Base Society. He earned his bachelor’s degree in microbiology at the University of California, Berkeley, and his medical degree at UCSF, where he also completed a residency in otolaryngology/head and neck surgery.

Dr. Lustig's research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of inner ear function and gene therapy approaches for hearing loss. In his lab he has several animal models of inherited deafness for which they are using gene therapy to correct the hearing loss. The overall goal of these studies is to translate these research advances into human therapy that will one day cure genetic deafness. These research studies have been supported by the National Institutes of Health and a number of private research foundations.

Education and Training

  • MD, 1992 University of California San Francisco School of Medicine
  • Internship: University of California San Francisco Medical Center
  • Residency: University of California San Francisco Medical Center
  • Residency: 1997 University Of California At San Francisco
  • Fellowship: Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Fellowship: 1998 The Johns Hopkins University School Of Medicine

Lab Locations

  • CUIMC/Harkness Pavilion

    180 Fort Washington Avenue
    New York, NY 10032

Past Positions

2014- Columbia University, Howard W. Smith Professor & Chairman, Department of Otolaryngology

2014-2008 University of California San Francisco, Francis A Sooy, MD, Endowed Professor, Department of Otolaryngology

2008-2004 University of California San Francisco, Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology

2002-2004 Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology

1999-2002 Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology

1999-1998 Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, Clinical Professor, Department of Otolaryngology


Recent Presentations

2015 Atlantic Otolaryngology Update, San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 2015- Invited Speaker

2014 New York University Grand Round Lecture, December 2014 - Invited Speaker

2014 Annual Morris J. Bender Lecturer - Long Island Jewish Hospital. "Cochlear Gene Therapy: Is It Time?" September 2014, New Hyde Park, New York - Endowed Lecturer

2014 Fernandez Lecturer - University of Chicago. "Cochlear Gene Therapy: Is It Time?" May 2014, Chicago, Il - Endowed Lecturer

2014 American Auditory Society-Translational Research Lecturer. "Cochlear Gene Therapy" March 2014, Scottsdale, AZ - Invited Lecturer

2014 Korean Otologic Society. "Cochlear Gene Therapy" Seoul, South Korea, March 2014 - Invited Lecturer

2013 Congress of French Audioprothesists, Keynote Speaker. "Cochlear Gene Therapy 2013", April 2013, Paris, France - Keynote Speaker

2013 University D'Auvergne - The Clermont Symposiu, Claremont-Ferrand, France. "Cochlear Gene Therapy" and "Cochlear Implants 2013 update" invited lectures - Invited Faculty

2013 Medical Hospital of Hannover, Germany-Otology Update, 2013-"Cochlear Gene Therapy" and "Cochlear Implants 2013 Update" invited lectures, March 2013 - Invited Faculty

2013 Eaton Peabody Labs, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. "Cochlear Gene Therapy: Is It Time?" December 2013 - Invited Speaker

2013 Harold Schuknecht Lecturer-Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. "Presbycusis and Noise-Induced Hearing Loss - Old problems and New Paradigms." December 2013 - Endowed Lecture

2013 Biology of the Inner Ear Course, Woods Hole, MA. "Cochlear Implants and Cochlear Gene Therapy." August 2013 - Invited Speaker

2013 American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, Annual Meeting. "Cochlear Gene Therapy-Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?" Invited Speaker, May 2013 - Invited Speaker

2013 Triological Society Spring Meeting, Orlando, Florida, April 2013. Cochlear Implants-Which Device Would You Choose?" - Panelist

2013 American Otological Society Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida, April 2013. "Cochlear Gene Therapy" talk in the Advances in Molecular Otology Panel - Panelist

Teaching Responsibilities

1998-Present Otology Resident Education: meets weekly with the residents on the Otology service didactic sessions

2009-2014 Course: Brain Mind and Behavior. University of California San Francisco

2009-2014 Course: Longitudinal Clinical Experience. University of California San Francisco

2006-2014 Otol 140.01 – Introduction to Otolaryngology. University of California San Francisco

2009-2014 Advanced Medical Genetics. University of California San Francisco

2011-2012 BioE 192 Senior Bioengineering Design. University of California Berkeley-undergraduate course. Lecture: Cochlear Implants, an Update

Committees / Societies / Memberships

Dr. Lustig is actively involved in a number of professional organizations, including the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, the American Otologic Society, the American Neurotologic Society (President 2015-6), the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (President 2015-6), the Triological Society, the Society for Neuroscience, Society for University Otolaryngologists, the American Auditory Society, the New York Otologic Society, and is currently a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine as well as the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Lustig has served on the editorial board of a number of academic journals, including serving as Associate Editor of Otology-Neurotology and the World Journal of Otolaryngology.

Honors and Awards

  • 2012-14 US News and World Report-America’s Top Doctors – Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
  • 2011 US News and World Report-America’s Top Doctors – Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
  • 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Distinguished Service Award
  • 2006 Award for Excellence in Innovative Curricular Design and Program Development and Teaching
  • 2006 The Roger Boles, MD Award for Excellence in Clinical Faculty Teaching
  • 2001 George T. Nager MD Award for Excellence in Teaching, Department of Otolaryngology, Johns Hopkins University
  • 1999 Herbert Silverstein Award for Otologic Research - $10,000 - AAO-HNS Foundation
  • 1996 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery Foundation, Inc. Foundation Grant Award
  • 1988 Dean's Summer Prize in Medical Student Research, UC San Francisco
  • 1987 UC Berkeley, graduation with Honors and Distinction in Scholarship
  • 1980 Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America
  • 1996 First Place Clinical Presentation, Bay Area Resident Research Association
  • 1992 UC San Francisco School of Medicine, Graduation with Honors

NIH Grants


    Oct 20 2019 - Oct 20 2024


    Jan 15 2015 - Jan 15 2020


    Mar 14 2016 - Mar 13 2018


    Jun 3 2016 - Mar 15 2017