Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center

Head and Neck Cancer Research


The Head and Neck disease-oriented working group of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine is dedicated to the multidisciplinary treatment of patients with head and neck cancer, and cutting-edge basic, translational and clinical research into cancer mechanisms and innovative new therapeutic approaches.


Types of Cancer

  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck
  • Larynx (voice box)
  • Oral cavity (mouth)
  • Oropharynx (throat)
  • Thyroid
  • Parathyroid
  • Salivary gland
  • Sinonasal and skull base
  • Skin cancer

Working Group Newsletters




Kenneth W. Altman, M.D., Ph.D., FACS
• Minimally invasive surgery for early glottal cancer
• Detection and treatment of laryngeal leukoplakia and pre-malignancy
• Physiology of the immune microenvironment in smoke induced larynx cancer

Hoda J. Badr, Ph.D.
Medicine, Section of Health Services
• Quality of life
• Caregiving
• Psychosocial and behavioral interventions

Donald. T. Donovan, M.D., FACS
• Thyroid and thyroid cancer
• Head and neck tumors
• Head and neck

Mitchell Frederick, Ph.D.
• Cancer Genomics
• Drug sensitivity

Kelly Gallagher, M.D.
• Cutaneous malignancy
• Sinus malignancy
• Skull base malignancy

Yohannes T. Ghebre, Ph.D., FAHA
Radiation Oncology
• Treatment of radiation induced mucosal inflammation
• Discovery and development of radioprotectors
• Discovery and development of chemosensitizing agents

Syeling Lai

• Role of tumor suppressor genes on head and neck cancer
• Detection of P16 and HPV in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
• Correlation of gene expression with patient’s clinical outcome in head and neck cancer

Carlos Ramos, M.D.
Center for Cell and Gene Therapy

• Virus-specific T cells for treatment of solid tumors
• Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)
• T cells for treatment of hematologic malignancies
• Hematopoietic stem cell transplant

Cliona Rooney, Ph.D.
Pediatrics - Hematology/Oncology, Cell & Gene Therapy

• Enhancement of CAR-T-cell therapy
• Virus-specific T-cells
• Cellular immunotherapy

Vlad C. Sandulache, M.D., Ph.D.
• Thyroid cancer- Advanced skin cancer
• Laryngeal and pharyngeal cancer

Michael Scheurer, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Pediatrics - Hematology/Oncology
• Molecular epidemiology of HPV-related cancers
• Screening tests for HPV-related cancers
• Outcomes in patients with HPV-related cancers

Andrew Sikora, M.D., Ph.D.

• Cancer immunology and tumor-mediated immunosuppression
• HPV-related head and neck cancer
• Cancer immunotherapy

Masataka Suzuki, Ph.D.
Center for Gene Therapy

• Cancer gene therapy with combination of different adenoviral vectors
• Combinational treatment with Ad gene therapy and T cell therapy for cancer immunotherapy (collaboration with Dr. Cliona Rooney’s lab)
• HA gene therapy with helper-dependent adenoviral vector

Timothy Wagner, M.D., M.B.A.
Radiation Oncology
• Reirradiation for locally recurrent disease
• Functional imaging for HNC for radiation planning and treatment

Simon Young, D.D.S., M.D., Ph.D.
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
• Hydrogel-based delivery systems for STING agonists
• Mesoporous silica rod-based cancer vaccines
• Preclinical models of osteoradionecrosis

Wendong Yu, M.D., Ph.D.
Pathology and Immunology
• Head and neck pathology
• Cytopathology
• Soft tissue pathology


Clinical Research Support


Yesenia Ramirez, B.A., CCRP
Senior Research Coordinator, Department of Otolaryngology


Administrative Support


Tristin Byrd, B.S.
Coordinator, Regulatory Affairs, Duncan Cancer Center – CTSU
Tristin Byrd supports the Head and Neck Cancer clinical trials group by providing regulatory guidance and preparing clinical trial submissions for initial and continuing reviews. She serves as the point of contact for faculty, staff and study sponsors

Hristijan Risteski, M.Sc.
Grant and Contract Associate
Hristijan Risteski has eight years of experience working with grants, federal agencies, and private foundations. He is responsible for managing grants and contracts, financial planning and reporting, purchasing and searching for funding opportunities.

Nicole Trieu, B.A.
Administrative Assistant LII
Nicole Trieu provides administrative support for the Head and Neck Cancer Program. With a background in communication, she is responsible for coordinating program activities and facilitating communication among the membership.


Contact Us


Andrew Sikora, M.D., Ph.D.
(713) 798-3909

Victoria Leyton, MA, CRA
(713) 798-4529


On the Blog


Momentum: What’s the link between HPV and head and neck cancer?

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