A musician-scientist is composing treatments for people with hearing loss
By Bob Woods
Photography by Kiko Ricote
Colloquially, you could say that Dimitri Godur has an ear for music. Or, in cochlear terms, that his love of music is helping to produce a groundbreaking discovery.
“I started playing the piano when I was 5,” said Godur, a first-year student in the Miller School’s M.D./M.B.A. program, “and ultimately picked up other string and percussion instruments.” Today, he not only continues to strum and drum but also, as an aspiring otologist, conducts research into improving the use of cochlear implants to treat people who are profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.
Godur has taken a circuitous route to otology. A Miami native — and son of Anastasia Godur, director of programs for the Miller School’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences — he participated during high school in UM’s Summer Scholars Program. “I shadowed surgeons,” he said, recalling his admiration of their operating room skills, as well as their bedside manners. “I said, ‘This is what I need to do.’”
After completing his undergraduate studies at Columbia University in 2020, Godur came back to Miami, worked in the Miller School’s Department of Medical Education for two years, and earned a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences. In 2021, he joined a research team in the Department of Otolaryngology’s Hearing Research and Cochlear Implant Laboratory that has discovered that a compound called taurodeoxycholic acid can protect residual hearing during implantation procedures, leading to better clinical outcomes. “The research parallels my interest in music and the way sound interfaces with the auditory system,” Godur said.
While the research project proceeds from animal testing to human clinical trials, hopefully in the next few years, Godur is continuing his dual-degree program toward becoming a clinical otologist. “Whether I go into private practice or hospital management, the M.B.A. will be a good tool to have in my arsenal,” he said. Or, you could say, another instrument in his ensemble.