About Eric Holbrook, MD, MS

Dr. Eric Holbrook, the Chief of the Rhinology Division at Mass. Eye and Ear, is a fellowship-trained rhinologist with more than 15 years of experience in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of problems involving the nose and sinuses. 

At Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Holbrook was involved in the establishment of the Sinus Center, the Smell and Taste Clinic, and the Endoscopic Skull Base surgery team. Dr. Holbrook has been an invited speaker at national and international meetings and has published more than 35 peer-reviewed papers and several textbook chapters. He has also been named “Best Doctor in Otolaryngology” by Boston Magazine and Best Doctors, Inc.

Dr. Holbrook’s clinical interests include diseases of the nose and sinuses, endoscopic approaches to the skull base, and smell and taste disorders. He is a member of the Skull Base Center at Mass. Eye and Ear/Mass General, the Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) Center at Mass General, and the Center for Thyroid Eye Disease and Orbital Surgery as Mass. Eye and Ear.

His research interests include olfaction and chronic rhinosinusitis. His olfactory research is partly funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Departments, Centers, & Programs:

Clinical Interests:



Mass General Cancer Center: Neuro-Oncology
55 Fruit St.
Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-5130

Mass Eye and Ear
243 Charles St.
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-523-7900

Medical Education

  • MD, State University of New York Upstate Medical University
  • Residency, Medical College of Virginia
  • Fellowship, Medical College of Virginia
  • Fellowship, University of Nebraska Medical Center

American Board Certifications

  • Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American Board of Otolaryngology

Accepted Insurance Plans

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Dr. Holbrook conducts research in the area of olfaction.  Patients with smell disorders currently have little therapeutic options.  Part of the reason is the lack of understanding of the pathophysiology behind the most common forms of smell loss.  One current projects look at the cellular composition of human olfactory epithelium in subjects suffering from loss of smell.  The immunohistochemical staining pattern in human epithelium is remarkably similar to that seen in rodents.  Several models of olfactory lesions in rodents are being compared to specimens from patients suffering from smell loss in attempt to identify areas of abnormality.  A second project looks at the ability of strengthening the survival and axonal projections of olfactory neurons with odorant exposure in a mouse model of olfactory epithelium regeneration with the hope that this may form the basis of new therapeutic techniques for those suffering from smell loss.  This work is in collaboration with Dr. James Schwob at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Additional research collaborations are taking place with Dr. Sabina Berretta at McLean Hospital identifying a protein specific to schizophrenia and found in olfactory epithelium.  Collaborations with Dr. Daniel Hamilos at MGH Immunology/Allergy work on identifying changes in innate epithelial immunity in patients suffering from chronic rhinosinusitis. 


  • Holbrook EH, Mieleszko Szumowski KE, Schwob JE. An immunochemical, ultrastructural, and developmental characterization of the horizontal basal cells of rat olfactory epithelium. J Comp Neurol 1995.
    Holbrook EH, DiNardo LJ, Costanzo RM 2001. Olfactory epithelium grafts in the cerebral cortex: an immunohistochemical analysis. Laryngoscope 2001.
    Holbrook EH, Leopold DA, Schwob JE. Abnormalities of axon growth in human olfactory mucosa. Laryngoscope 2005.

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