Robert Ferris, MD, PhD

UPMC Endowed Professor and Chief
Division of Head and Neck Surgery
Associate Director for Translational Research
Co-Leader, Cancer Immunology Program
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Pittsburgh, PA

Dr. Ferris completed his training at Johns Hopkins University, focused on head and neck oncologic surgery and cancer immunology. He moved to the University of Pittsburgh, where he is currently the UPMC Endowed Professor, Vice-Chair and Chief of Head and Neck Surgery, and Fellowship Director in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery. At the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, he is Co-Leader of the Cancer Immunology Program and Associate Director for Translational Research. Dr. Ferris serves on the Editorial Boards of JNCI, JCO, Clinical Cancer Research, Cancer Immunology Research and Section Editor for Cancer. He is Editor in Chief of Oral Oncology. Dr. Ferris has published over 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts and in 2015 was elected Co-chair of the NCI Head and Neck Steering committee to facilitate prospective clinical trials. He has authored numerous book chapters and co- edited two textbooks, Salivary Gland Disorders and Master Techniques in Head and Neck Surgery.

Dr. Ferris’ NIH-funded laboratory is focused on reversal of immune escape and immunotherapy using monoclonal antibodies and cellular vaccines, leading randomized phase II-III trials of anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 immunotherapy. He currently chairs the NIH tumor Microenvironment study section. He is Principal Investigator (PI) of several prospective randomized trials, including ECOG 3311, testing radiation dose-deintensification after transoral robotic surgery (TORS) for HPV+ oropharynx cancer, as well as ECOG-ACRIN 3132, using p53 mutational testing in HPV- cancer, to predict response to radiation versus chemoradiation. He is a PI of the University of Pittsburgh Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant for translational head and neck research, and a T32 training grant, “Training of Head and Neck Oncologists,” both funded by the National Cancer Institute until 2020.

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