Head and Neck Cancer Research

The Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery is committed to eradicating head and neck cancer through multidisciplinary research. Our Head and Neck Oncology Program includes experts from 13 departments in five schools within the University of Michigan. Together this dedicated group conducts head and neck cancer research that includes basic, clinical, behavioral, population and translational research. 

The major themes of the Head and Neck Oncology Program are to:

  • Identify mechanisms of carcinogenesis and progression; 
  • Determine the molecular biology of treatment response; 
  • Characterize the immunobiology of the tumor microenvironment to better modulate the immune system as a therapeutic modality; 
  • Characterize the role of cancer stem cells in tumor progression, invasion, metastasis and resistance to treatment; 
  • Define new treatment combinations based on laboratory and clinical studies that define new biomarkers for individualized therapies; 
  • Define organ preservation strategies in head and neck cancer; and 
  • Develop and implement novel reconstruction and rehabilitation techniques for head and neck cancer patients.

Our Team

Research Projects

Head and Neck Cancer SPORE Grant

The University of Michigan is one of five hospitals in the country to be awarded a Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute. The goal of the SPORE grant is to significantly improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of head and neck cancer. The SPORE further strengthens our Head and Neck Oncology Program by providing pilot and career development funding to support new research programs and foster the careers of new investigators focused on head and neck oncology.