About the Head and Neck Research Program at Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai’s Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery was established as one of the first of its kind in the United States. Physicians and scientists at the Department had been conducting head and neck cancer research for more than 20 years, which set forth the foundation for and establishment of the Head and Neck Cancer Research Program in 2008. Here, our dynamic team of physician-scientists, biologists, and researchers utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to translational and clinical research. Our goal is to discover new insights into head and neck cancer biology and forge new treatment options, while providing a platform for rapid translation from bench to bedside.

Head and Neck Cancer Research Areas

The Head and Neck Cancer Research Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is widely recognized for its dormant tumor cell studies and HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer research. Specifically, our research areas encompass:

  • Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) for the minimally invasive removal of head and neck cancers
  • HPV-related head and neck cancer
  • Immune-based therapy for head and neck cancers
  • Molecular pathways of tumor dormancy, growth, recurrence, and metastasis
  • Optical imaging for real-time margin detection in head and neck cancer

Training for Students and Residents

The medical residents and students at the Head and Neck Cancer Research Program play an integral role to our mission, conducting meaningful research projects that embrace both patient care and scientific research. Their passion for medicine is fortified here, as they are mentored by renowned scientists.

Advancing Robotic Surgery and Head and Neck Cancer Treatments

The advances we have made toward the treatment and cure of head and neck cancers are remarkable, reducing the prevalence of metastatic and residual disease among patients nationwide. A catalyst in robotic surgery, our team developed the nation’s first course on TORS that attracted participants from across the globe. Additionally, Advaxis, Inc. chose the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to implement its Phase 1/2 vaccination for HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer clinical trial. The company sought an academic medical center reputable for its concentrations on both immunology and TORS and selected our Head and Neck Cancer Research Program as its site for this trial.

We welcome collaboration from the Mount Sinai community and other academic and industry partners on research initiatives and grants. For additional information, please view our 2012 Outcomes and Performance Data brochure, as well as our Research Focus newsletter that details our dedication and commitment to improving health outcomes in head and neck cancers.


Contact Us

Julio Aguirre-Ghiso, PhD
Director, Head and Neck Cancer Basic Research
Tel: 212-241-9582
Send e-mail

Brett A. Miles, DDS MD FACS
Assistant Professor
Head and Neck Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Oncology Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery
Tel: 212-241-2253

Leslie Waters-Martin
Research Program Coordinator
Tel: 212-241-7107

About the Program

Dr. Julio Aguirre-Ghiso and Dr. Brett Miles explain how the research at the Program is bringing patients more treatment options, including innovative clinical trials, as well as surgical and technological improvements. 

Watch Video
Advaxis Clinical Trial

Researchers at Mount Sinai are conducting a clinical trial testing a novel vaccine for patients with HPV-related oropharyngeal (tonsil and tongue base) cancer who are eligible to undergo robot-assisted surgery. Watch video