I have dedicated my career to the care of patients with head and neck cancers and developed a basic and translational research program focused on biology and therapeutic approaches of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. My research program focuses on the development and study of high-fidelity models of oral squamous cell carcinoma and translational applications of findings therein. A major effort in the laboratory has focused on molecular determinants of aggressiveness in oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC) that has lead to identification of (1) novel molecular signature that allow patient outcomes stratification (2) previously unexplored pathways in tumor cell aggressive growth and metastasis and (3) direct translational efforts in patients with oral cancer. I am the Principal Investigator of one recently completed and one active clinical trial treating patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The recently completed trial utilized the MEK inhibitor trametinib in a window of opportunity biomarker clinical trial. The current open trial is aimed at treatment intensification with pembrolizumab, an anti-PD-1 blocking monoclonal antibody, in high-risk head and neck cancer patients. My recent move to the Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center as Director of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology has positioned me in an ideal milieu for our continued work on the genomic basis of tumor aggressiveness using the spectrum of laboratory modeling to patient samples. This work is complemented by my role as a surgeon in the multidisciplinary management of patients with head and neck cancer.