Erin K. O'Brien, M.D., is a rhinologist whose primary research interests are chronic rhinosinusitis, nasal polyps and sinus inflammation.
Dr. O'Brien's research projects include studying a specific subtype of chronic rhinosinusitis, aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD), which includes nasal polyps, asthma, and reactions to aspirin, ibuprofen or similar drugs.
Her research includes examining the inflammatory cells found within nasal polyps and identifying markers in the blood to both understand the disease process and help tailor specific treatments to subtypes of chronic rhinosinusitis. In addition, Dr. O'Brien is researching methods to more accurately diagnose acute and chronic sinusitis.
- AERD — Using mass cytometry of sinus tissue and polyps, biomarker discovery for inflammatory cells, and markers for diagnosis and disease response to therapy and exacerbations
- Acute and chronic rhinosinusitis diagnosis — Researching cytology and microbial markers for diagnosis of sinusitis beyond culture results
- Chronic rhinosinusitis in systemic diseases — Examining symptoms and presentation of chronic rhinosinusitis in systemic diseases such as vasculitis, inflammatory bowel disease, immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4) disease, and lower airway diseases such as bronchiectasis and asthma
Significance to patient care
Dr. O'Brien's research on chronic rhinosinusitis and associated diseases, such as asthma, aligns with her clinical collaborations with Mayo Clinic colleagues in allergy, pulmonary medicine, rheumatology and other specialties. She hopes that her research to identify biomarkers and to subtype different causes for sinusitis will allow for more targeted therapies for patients.
- Membership chair, American Rhinologic Society, 2018-2021
- Member, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, American Rhinologic Society, 2020-present
- Founding member, Women in Rhinology Section, American Rhinologic Society, 2018-present
- Head and neck surgery oral board examiner, American Board of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, 2017-present
- Chair-elect, Head and Neck Surgery, Rhinology and Paranasal Sinus Committee, American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, 2020