Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Affiliated Research Labs
PhD: Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, 2004
MSE: Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, 1999
BS: Biomedical engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, 1996
Contact InformationEmail: Kai.Zhao@osumc.edu
Office Phone: 614-293-3857
Lab Phone: 614-366-1794
Current Research SupportTissue-engineered trachea composites for long-segment airway replacement
PI: Tendy Chang (7/16/2021 – 6/30/2026)
Role: subcontract PI (10%, Annual total cost $122,042)
A confectionary-based screening tool for assessing chemosensory loss in COVID-19 patients
PI: Susan Travers (12/21/2020 – 06/20/2022, total cost $305,085)
Role: Co-Investigator (20%) and 50% of a postdoc
Noninvasive Nasal Aid to Improve Nasal Obstruction Symptoms
Agency: Ohio State Dept. of Education, Accelerator Awards,
PI: Kai Zhao (01/01/2020-6/31/2021, total direct cost $150,000)
Optimizing surgical outcomes to olfactory losses through endoscopic sinus surgery simulator
Agency: NIH-NIDCD R21 DC017530,
PI: Kai Zhao (3/01/2019-3/1/2022, Total direct cost $275,000)
Sinonasal Visualization and Quantification of the Effect of Oxymetazoline Nasal Spray
Agency: Bayer, Inc.
PI: Kai Zhao (1 year total cost $120,000)
Completed Research Support
RELIEVA TRACT Balloon Dilation System: Preclinical Study
Agency: Acclarent, Inc
PI: Alexander Farag (10/23/2019-6/30/2021, Total cost $95,222)
Objective evaluation of conductive olfactory losses & nasal obstruction symptoms
Agency: NIH-NIDCD, R01 DC013626
PI: Kai Zhao (12/01/2014-11/31/2019, 4 year total cost $1,523,000)
This project aims to objectively evaluate the conductive mechanisms contributing to nasal obstruction symptoms, including smell losses, by combining novel computational models with existing sensory measurements.
Relieve nasal obstruction symptoms through modulation of airflow via a novel nasal plug
Agency: Ohio Dept. of Higher Education, Ohio ICorp program
PI: Kai Zhao (4/1/2019-9/30/2019, $15,000)
A Prospective, Non-Randomized Study to Evaluate Treatment Outcome of Nasal Airway Obstruction Using the Aerin Medical Vivaer Stylus
Agency: Industry Sponsor
Otto (PI) (5/19/17-5/19/19) Budget: $192,250.53,
Modulation of Olfactory Cilia” (05/01/2012-04/30/2016)
Agency: NIH NIDCD, R01 DC011554,
PI: Minghong Ma (Neuroscience, UPENN)
Subcontract PI: Kai Zhao (20%)
This project investigates modulation of the structure and function of olfactory cilia, by the stimulus input properties in the nasal cavity
VOC Odor Signature Modeling for Portable Sensing Platforms (10/01/2013-04/30/2014)
Agency: US Air Force (SBIR FA8650-13-M-6448, phase I)
PI: Applied Nanotech, Inc., Subcontract
PI: Kai Zhao ($23,000, 6 months)
Airborne Human Odorants: detection, dispersion and characterization
US Air Force
PIs: George Preti, Kai Zhao (total $130,000), 06/01/2011 – 08/31/2012.
Nasal airflow and odorant transport: a prerequisite for normal olfaction (12/01/2006- 12/01/2010)
Agency: NIH/NIDCD R03 DC008187-01
PI: Kai Zhao (3 Yrs total direct cost $150,000)
This project uses computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modeling techniques to quantify the anatomy-dependent nasal airflow and odorant mucosal deposition patterns among healthy human subjects and to characterize their potential functional impact on human olfactory function.
The left-right asymmetry in Parkinson disease development” (2011, 1 year)
Agency: private source
PI: Kai Zhao $20,000 total cost
Nasal airflow and odorant transport in healthy adult domestic cat (10/01/2007-09/30/2008)
Industry funding: Mars, Inc. - Petcare
PI: Kai Zhao (total $104,000)
Occupational exposure, inflammatory process and chemosensory function” (1/01/2005- 12/31/2010)
Agency: NIH/NIDCD P50 DC 006760
PI: Pamela Dalton
Role in this project: Co-investigator
Using computational models to evaluate the degree to which occupational exposure-induced deviations in nasal airflow patterns are predictive of alternations in olfactory sensitivity.
Temporal integration in nasal lateralization” (10/01/06-10/01/10)
Agency: NIH/NIEHS R03
Principal Investigator: Paul Wise
Role in this project: Consultant
To develop a mathematical model that characterizes the tradeoff between stimulus-duration and concentration in the detection of chemical irritation in the human nose based on transport of molecules through the mucosa.
For complete and most updated publication list:
Wu Z. and Zhao K. (2020) Taste of time: a porous-medium model for human tongue surface with implications for early taste perception, Plos Computational Biology, 16(6): e1007888. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007888. PMC7271999
Li C., Dong H. and Zhao K. (2018) A balance between aerodynamic and olfactory performance during flight in Drosophila, Nature Communications 9:3215. PMC6086917
Lewis R., Tian HK., Wang J., He JW., Jiang J., Chen XM., Yin WB., Connelly T., Ma LM., Yu CR., Pluznick, JP., Storm DR., Huang LQ., Zhao K., and Ma M. (2015) An Olfactory Cilia Pattern in the Mammalian Nose Ensures High Sensitivity to Odors, Current Biology, Oct; 25(19):2503-12. PMC4596779
Scott JW*., Sherrilla L., Jiang J., Zhao K.* (2014) Tuning to Odor Solubility and Sorption Pattern in Olfactory Epithelial Responses, Journal of Neuroscience, 34(6):2025-36
Invited Reviews and Book Chapters
Zhao K. (2020) Editorial, International Forum of Allergy Rhinol, 34(6) 721-724, doi: 10.1177/1945892420962738
Li C., Zhao K. (2020) Nasal Obstruction And Empty Nose Syndrome: What Are Our Noses Sensing? In: Clinical & Biomedical Engineering of the Human Nose − A Computational Fluid Dynamics Approach, Ed: Inthavong, K., Singh, N., Wong, E., Tu, J, Springer, Singapore.
Zhao K., Frye R. (2015), “Nasal Patency and the Aerodynamics of Nasal Airflow - in Relation to Olfactory Function", the Handbook of Olfaction and Gustation, 3rd ed, Ed: Richard L. Doty, Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, USA.
Scherer P.W., Huang J.W., and Zhao K. (2011). Capnography and the SPM Applied to Cardiac Output Recovery and Airway Structure and Function. In: Capnogram: Clinical aspects, 2nd ed”, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Zhao K., and Dalton P. (2007) The way the wind blows - implications of modeling nasal airflow, Current Allergy/Asthma Reports, 7:117–125 (Citations: 15)
Scherer P.W. and Zhao K. (2004). Anatomic and physiological basis of volume capnography studied by the single path model. In: Clinical aspects of volumetric capnogram”, Ed: Gravenstein J. S., Jaffe M.B., and Paulus D.A., Cambridge University Press, 321-336, Cambridge, UK.
Presentations and Conferences
2021 Kim, K. Farag A.A., Otto B.A., Zhao K. 3D PRINTING AS A PLANNING TOOL TO OPTIMIZE POST-SURGICAL SINONASAL SINUS IRRIGATION, Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings (COSM), Virtual.
2021 Frusciante RP., Farag A.A., Otto B.A., Zhao K. Otolaryngologist Assessment of Nasal Septum Deviation, COSM, virtual.
Aug. 3, 2020 “Nasal airflow and trigeminal sensory dysfunction but not aggressive surgery lead to Empty Nose Syndrome”, International symposium in olfaction and taste, (ISOT 2020, virtual oral presentation)
Aug. 3, 2020 Impact of diffusivity and viscosity on taste perception – application of a porous medium model for human tongue surface. ISOT 2020 (virtual oral presentation).
Aug. 3, 2020 Nasal trigeminal cool sensitivity but not resistance dictates obstruction symptoms in nasal Septal Deviation patients. ISOT 2020 (virtual oral presentation).
Jun. 7, 2019 “Peak sinus pressures during sneezing in healthy controls and post-skull base surgery patients”, Rhinoworld, 2019, Chicago
Jun. 6, 2019 “Use 3D printing to visualize and optimize personal nasal sinus irrigation strategy”, Rhinoworld, 2019, Chicago
Jun. 5, 2019 “Nasal obstruction and empty nose syndrome – what are our noses sensing?”, Society for Computational Fluid Dynamics of the Nose & Airway (SCONA) 2019
Jun. 5, 2019 “Future novel targeted treatment options of nasal obstruction and olfactory losses”, SCONA 2019.
Apr. 13, 2019 Taste of time – a porous medium model for human tongue surface and its implication to temporal profile of gustatory perception. Association for Chemoreception Sciences, Annual meeting.
Mar. 14, 2019 “A Prototype Endoscopic Sinus Surgery Simulator to Optimize Surgical Outcomes”, FDA Frontiers in Med device, Washington DC
Oct. 5, 2018 “Asymptomatic vs. symptomatic septal perforations: a computational fluid dynamics examination”, American Rhinologic Society Annual Meeting.
Oct. 6, 2018 “Effective Relieve of Empty Nose Syndrome symptoms through a novel nasal plug that cost a few cents”, American Rhinologic Society Annual Meeting.
Oct. 6, 2018 “CFD analysis of aggressive turbinate reductions: Is it a culprit of ENS?”, American Rhinologic Society Annual Meeting.
Apr. 18, 2018 "Is there a connection between endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery and empty nose syndrome? A pilot CFD study”, COSM American Rhinologic Society.
Oct. 23, 2017 “The untold truth about nasal obstruction – from a bioengineer’s perspective”, Grand Rounds, Department of Otolaryngology, Kansas University.
Sep. 8, 2017 “Examine the abnormal nasal aerodynamics in empty nose syndrome”, American Rhinologic Society Annual Meeting.
Apr. 26, 2017 “CFD evidence of posterior septectomy as viable treatment option for septal perforation,” Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings (COSM), San Diego, California.
Apr. 16, 2017 “Effect of induced airflow on odor plume transportation in a fruit fly in forward flight,” AChemS Annual Meeting, Bonita Springs, Florida,
Sep. 22, 2016 “Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and trigeminal sensory examinations of empty nose syndrome patients: pre and post turbinate surgery”, American Rhinology Society (ARS) Annual Meeting.
April. 25, 2015 “Computational fluid dynamics modeling of sinus irrigations before and after surgery”, COSM- American Rhinology Society (ARS) Spring Meeting.
Mar. 19, 2015 “The way the wind blows: investigating the impediments in nasal airway”, Grand Rounds, Department of Otolaryngology, Vanderbilt University.
Mar. 17, 2015 “From nostril to receptors: nasal aerodynamics and its implications in mammalian nasal functions and diseases”, Grand Rounds, Department of Otolaryngology, Northwestern University.
Feb. 25, 2015 “Anosmia: A Sense of Hope”, Panelist, Lecture for continuing medical education (CME) for physicians, Jefferson University.
Jan. 29, 2015 “The way the wind blows: investigating the impediments of nasal airflow”, Grand Rounds, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Miami.
Sep. 27, 2013 “What is Normal Nasal Airflow? – A Computational Study of 22 Healthy Adults”, American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA) Annual Meeting.
Sep. 28, 2013 “Conductive olfactory losses in chronic rhinosinusitis? – A computational fluid dynamics study of 29 patients”, American Rhinology Society (ARS) Annual Meeting.
Nov. 17, 2009 “The history and future of computational nasal airflow modeling – the clinical and functional relevance?”, Beijing International Meeting on Research in Taste and Smell.
Apr. 16, 2009 “Sensation of nasal patency through mucosal heat loss rather than air temperature”, Rhinology World 2009 - the combined meeting of four major
Societies: The International Rhinological society (IRS), The International Symposium on Infection and Allergy of the Nose (ISIAN), The American Rhinological Society (ARS) and The American Academy of Otolarngic Allergy (AAOA).
Apr. 18, 2009 “Objective assessment of the impact of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) on olfactory function”, Rhinology World 2009.
Apr. 18, 2009 “Computational modeling of nasal airflow and odorant transport in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis”, Rhinology world 2009.
Oct. 15, 2006 “Modeling of nasal airflow and odorant transport in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis”, Biomedical engineering society (BMES) annual conference.
May. 19, 2006 “Numerical nasal airflow simulation in patients pre- & post- middle turbinate resection”, American Rhinology Society (ARS) COSM Meeting.
Apr. 29, 2006 “Computational modeling of nasal airflow and odorant transport in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis”, AchemS Annual Conference.
Jun. 11, 2004 “Modeling of airflow and odorant delivery pattern in a pre- & post-operative nasal cavity: a quantitative evaluation of surgical intervention”, American Academy of Otolaryngology-- Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), Pennsylvania annual meeting, Philadelphia, PA.
Apr. 12, 2003 “Nasal airflow and odorant transport patterns: implications for odor perception”, AchemS Annual Conference.
Scope it out (a podcast for the International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology)
Episode 53: Inferior meatus augmentation procedure (IMAP) normalizes nasal airflow patterns in empty nose syndrome patients via computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling with Dr. Kai Zhao and Dr. Jayakar Nayak
2015-current Director, Nasal Physiology and Therapeutic Center, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, The Ohio State University Medical Center
2016-2019 Elected Representative, Faculty council, The Ohio State University Medical Center
2018-current Resident training committee, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
2018-current Grant review committee, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
2020-current Member, Sanction committee, The Ohio State University Faculty Senate
2020-current Medical student admission screening committee, The Ohio State University Medical Center
Professional Experiences and Organizations
Ad hoc reviewer for NIH study section (BCHI), 2018
Ad hoc reviewer for NIH study section (BMIT-A), 2017, 2018
Ad hoc reviewer for NIH study section (Communication Disorders Review Committee), 2016
Ad hoc reviewer for NIH study section (ZDC1 X-61), 2016
Ad hoc reviewer for NIH study section (ZDC1 SRB-K(20)), 2015
Program committee for Beijing international meeting on research in taste and smell, 2009
PNAS, Scientific Reports, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Laryngoscope, Plos Comp. Biol., Plos One, Neuroscience, American Journal of Rhinology, International Forum of Rhinology and Allergy, Acta Oto-laryngologica, Journal of Rhinology, Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology, Medical Engineering & Physics, Chemical Senses, Chemoperception, Inhalation Toxicology, Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing, Journal of Aerosol Science, Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, Journal of biomechanics, Journal of Experimental Biology, Anatomical Record, Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering, Surgery Research and Practice, Computers in Biology and Medicine, Current Medical Imaging Reviews, BMC medical research method, Orthodontics and Craniofacial Research, surgery research and practice, Science of the Total Environment International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery, Engineering computations, Attention Perception Psychophysics, Jama Facial plastic surgery, Journal of Food Engineering, International Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering.
Association for Chemoreception Sciences (AchemS), Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), American Rhinological Society (ARS)
Awards and Honors2004 Best Poster Presentation, 1st Place Award, American Rhinology Society annual meeting
2004 Frances Davidson Award for best oral presentation, American Academy of Otolaryngology-- Head and Neck Surgery, Pennsylvania annual meeting
2003 Feature Presentation, highlighted for press release, Association for chemoreception sciences (AchemS) annual meeting
2017 Dr. Chengyu Li, a postdoc fellow, was awarded the Association for Chemoreception Sciences (AchemS) 2017 Polak Young Investigator.
2019 2nd prize of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Flow Visualization Competition
2019 Dr. Zhenxing Wu, a postdoc fellow, was awarded the AchemS 2019 Polak Young Investigator