Research Professor, Department of Otolaryngology

Daniel MerfeldDepartment of Otolaryngology
4000 Eye and Ear Institute
915 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, OH 43212

Research Statement
I am a neuroscientist/neuroengineer with basic science interests in how the brain works. I am also heavily engaged in translational research. The majority of my research is collaborative. Most of my research focuses on the vestibular system – partly because vestibular dysfunction is a large human health problem, partly because equilibrium is a crucial sense that is often overlooked (until something goes wrong), and partly because the vestibular system has characteristics that match my dynamic systems technical expertise. Other general areas of technical expertise include computational neuroscience, random variable analyses, human psychophysics, motion platform technologies, and neural stimulation.


PhD: Biomedical Engineering, MIT, 1990
MSE: Mech. and Aero. Engineering, Princeton University, 1985 
BSME: Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1982

Bio: Daniel (Dan) Merfeld, PhD, Professor, joined the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck in August 2017. Dr. Merfeld received his M.S.E in Mechanical & Aerodynamic Engineering from Princeton University and his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from MIT. Dr. Merfeld is heavily engaged in translational and collaborative research that primarily focuses on the vestibular system. In addition to his professorship appointment at the College of Medicine, Dr. Merfeld will direct a team of researchers at the Naval Medical Research Unit at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio investigating spatial disorientation and other motion and acceleration –based phenomenon using a disorientation research device known as “The Kraken”. The device allows researchers to create the most realistic motion simulation using all six degrees of freedom and up to three G’s of force.

View CV

Faculty Academic Appointments

2012-2017 Professor Otology and Laryngology Harvard Medical School

2007-2017 Faculty Member Faculty of Arts & Sciences Harvard

2000-2017 Affiliate Faculty Division of Health Sci. & Tech. Harvard/MIT

2000-2017 Faculty Member Speech Hearing Biosci. & Tech. MIT

1999-2012 Assoc. Prof. Otology and Laryngology Harvard Medical School

1998-1999 Associate Scientist Neurol. Sci. Institute

1997-1999 Faculty Member Neuroscience Graduate Program OHSU

1996-1999 Faculty Member Integrative Biomed. Sci. Program OHSU

1995-1999 Adjunct Professor Dept. of Phys. & Pharm. OHSU

1995-1998 Assistant Scientist Neurol. Sci. Institute

1991-1995 Research Scientist Man-Vehicle Laboratory MIT

Major Administrative Leadership Positions

1992-1995 Acting PI Directed efforts of an international team of neurovestibular scientists on Spacelab Life Sciences – 2

1996-1998 PR Director Neurological Sciences Institute

1999- Director Jenks Vestibular Physiology Laboratory (a multi-PI research lab)

2002-2004 Organizer Sensory-Neural Systems: Spatial Orientation from Vestibular End Organs to Behavior and Adaptation (16.430J/HST.514J)

2007-2011 Organizer MEEI Vestibular Seminar Series

Honors and Prizes

1990 Sigma XI-National Scientific Honorary Fraternity

1990 Fellow, Winter Conference on Brain Research

1990 Payload Specialist Semi-Finalist, Spacelab mission “SLS-1”

1991 Visiting Scholar, University of Sydney

Payload Specialist Semi-Finalist, Spacelab mission “SLS-2”

1995 Biomedical Engineering Society’s “Whitaker Young Investigator”

2004 Invited Participant, NIDCD Workshop on Electrical Stimulation of Vestibular Nerve

2012 Senior Member, Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE)

2012 Fellow, American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)

2014 Inaugural Vestibular Disorders Association “Champion of Vestibular Medicine”

Funded and Unfunded Projects


2011-2017 MedEl, Supplementary Investigations to Support the Development of a Vestibular Implant Targeting Bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction PI
2012-2017 NIH/NIDCD R01, Vestibular migraine investigated with psychophysical and oculomotor tests Co-I
2013-2018 NIH/NIDCD R01, Vestibular contributions to estimated head motion and orientation Co-I
2015-2020 NIH/NIDCD R01, Employing Vestibular Thresholds to Improve Patient Diagnosis PI
2016-2018 NIH/NIDCD R21, Employing Magnetic Vestibular Stimulation (MVS) during Functional Imaging PI
2016-2018 DOD SBIR, Assessment and Diagnosis of Vestibular Indicators of Soldier Operational Readiness Consult.
2017-2019 DOD SBIR, Mathematical Model of Spatial Orientation PI


1986-1989 NASA Fellowship, Vestibulo-Ocular Responses during Centrifugation PI
1991-1992 NASA, Vestibular Experiments in Spacelab Life Sciences – 1 Co-I
1992-1995 NASA, Vestibular Experiments in Spacelab Life Sciences – 2 Co-I Harvard Medical School Curriculum Vitae 5
1993-1996 NASA,Visual-Vestibular Interactions Co-PI
1994-1997 NASA, Mechanisms of Sensorimotor Adaptation to Centrifugation Co-I
1995-1998 NASA, Otolith and Vertical Canal Contributions to Dynamic Postural Control C o -I
1995-1999 NIH/NIDCD R01, Otolithic Control of Human Postural Sway Trajectories Co-I
1996-1998 Medical Research Foundation of Oregon, Efficacy and Side-effects of Electrical Stimulation of Peripheral Vestibular Nerves PI
1996-2001 NIH/NIDCD R01, Vestibular-ocular Responses during Combined Linear And Angular Stimuli PI
1997-2001 Whitaker Foundation, Adaptive Responses of the Vestibulo-ocular Reflexes to Electrical Stimulation PI
2000-2006 NASA, Influence of Sensory Integration on the Neural Processing of Gravito-inertial Cues PI
2001-2004 NASA, neural Processing of Ambiguous Gravito-Inertial Cues Co-I
2001-2006 NIH/NIDCD R01, Adaptation to Controlled Vestibular Stimulation PI
2004-2006 NASA, The Influence of Rotational Cues on Human Tilt and Translation Responses Co-I
2007-2008 NASA, The Influence of rotational Cues on Human Tilt and Translation Responses PI
2006-2009 NIH/NIDCD R01, Vestibular influences on spatial orientation in monkey Co-I
2007-2010 NIH/NIDCD R01, Development of semicircular canal prostheses for studies of vestibular plasticity PI
2009-2012 European Commission, Closed loop neural prosthesis for vestibular disorders Co-I
2012-2013 NIH R56, Innovative methodologies for measuring behavioral vestibular thresholds PI
2009-2014 NIH/NIDCD R01, Vestibular prosthesis tested in a vestibulopathic model Co-I
1999-2015 NIH/NIDCD R01, Vestibular thresholds, including psychophysical response dynamics PI