Dr. Alicia Quesnel Presented Sandy and Herb Pollack Young Investigator Award

December 8, 2021

Alicia Quesnel, MD, a neurotologic surgeon and researcher at Mass Eye and Ear, was recently presented the Sandy and Herb Pollack Young Investigator Award at the 2021 Mass Eye and Ear Annual Meeting of Trustees and Medical Staff.

Dr. Quesnel receiving the Pollack Award
Dr. Varvares (left) presents the Pollack Award to Dr. Quesnel (right).
The award is endowed by the late Herb Pollack, a former Mass Eye and Ear Board member and trustee, and his wife Sandy. Herb, who participated on the Board for 12 years, was founder of the Methuen-based Parlex Corporation. He was a dedicated philanthropist whose passion for engineering and entrepreneurial vision built Parlex into a worldwide leader in electronic manufacturing.

Herb and Sandy’s daughter, Jill Kutchin, and son-in-law, Ed Kutchin, attended the annual meeting. Since 2012, Ed has carried on the Pollack tradition of serving as a Mass Eye and Ear trustee.

Recipients of the Pollack Award are selected each year for their exceptional promise as a physician-scientist. Thanks to Herb and Sandy’s generosity, the award provides a young physician-scientist with a financial award to launch or advance a research program of their choice.

Herb and Sandy Pollack
Herb and Sandy Pollack
Dr. Quesnel, who serves as Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at Harvard Medical School and director of the Otopathology Laboratory at Mass Eye and Ear, specializes in ear and skull base surgery. Her research focuses on the histopathology of the temporal bone, including the study of otosclerosis and post-cochlear implant pathology, and understanding the roots of sensorineural hearing loss. 

Many of the molecular and cellular changes underlying sensorineural hearing loss in humans currently remain a mystery. With the support of the Pollack Award, Dr. Quesnel will expand an initiative that will analyze the genetic makeup of human temporal bone specimens inside the Otopathology Laboratory, which houses one of the largest collections of such specimens in the world. Through this initiative, Dr. Quesnel hopes to discover correlations between specific genes and different types of sensorineural hearing loss, which could lay the foundation for more precise hearing loss treatments.

“Dr. Quesnel possesses the leadership needed to tackle some of the most daunting research questions in neurotology and otology,” said Mark A. Varvares, MD, FACS, Chief of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at Mass Eye and Ear. “Her desire to make life-changing breakthroughs in hearing loss treatments perfectly emulates the pioneering spirit of the Pollacks.”