Dr. Thomas Carey

Thomas E. Carey, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Professor Emeritus, Department of Pharmacology


Dr. Carey graduated from St. Lawrence University with a B.S. in biology and received a summer fellowship in cardiovascular research at the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory with Dr. Gordon K. Moe where he worked on the mechanism of action of propranolol a beta-adrenergic blocker, now widely used in the clinic. Dr. Carey received his Ph.D. in biochemical pharmacology from the State University of New York at Buffalo after doing his dissertation work at the Roswell Park Memorial Cancer Institute with Dr. Enrico Mihich studying the timing of chemotherapy to achieve synergy between treatment and immune response in leukemia. He was an NIH postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Lloyd Old at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute, where he defined the first human autologous antibody defined melanoma antigens prior to joining the faculty at the University of Michigan. 

Dr. Carey is a professor of both pharmacology and otolaryngology-head and neck surgery here at the University of Michigan. He is also co-director of the Head and Neck Oncology Research Program. Dr. Carey also chaired the Department of Oral Medicine, Pathology, and Oncology in the School of Dentistry from 2001 to 2006. He has published more than 220 journal articles, authored 20 chapters and co-edited one book.  Dr. Carey has mentored hundreds of undergraduate, graduate, medical and post-doctoral students, including nine clinical department chairs.

Areas of Interest

Dr. Carey's hearing research at the KHRI focuses on mechanisms of autoimmune hearing loss mediated by antibodies to inner ear antigens. His lab discovered, characterized and cloned a gene that encodes an inner ear antigen called CTL2 (choline transporter-like protein 2), that is the target of antibody induced hearing loss.  His team is using recombinant human CTL2 to develop an improved test for diagnosis of autoimmune hearing loss.  To develop a better understanding of the mechanisms of autoimmune hearing loss and to determine the role of CTL2 (also called SLC44A2) in tissue homeostasis in the inner ear and in other tissues, his lab developed a CTL2/SLC44A2 knock out mouse and are categorizing the hearing deficits and anatomical effects of loss of this protein on the inner ear and other tissues.

Honors & Awards

  • St. Lawrence University Distinguished Alumni Award
  • University of Michigan Senior Research Scientist Lectureship Award
  • University of Michigan Distinguished Research Scientist Award
  • Selected by the United States Jaycees as One of Ten outstanding Young Men in the Nation
  • University of Michigan Donald A. Kerr Endowed Collegiate Professorship
  • St. Lawrence University Sol Feinstone Humanitarian Award
  • Presidential Citation, the American Head and Neck Society
  • Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR) Distinguished Clinical and Translational Research Mentor Award