Research Summary

I am Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research at UCSF, where I also direct the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). My own research efforts are focused on elucidating and targeting key signaling pathways in head and neck cancer. I directed the head and neck cancer program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute from 1998-2014 and in this capacity facilitated collaborations between clinicians and investigators with an emphasis of developing a robust research infrastructure to support translational cancer studies. I served as PI of the SPORE in Head and Neck Cancer at the University of Pittsburgh from 2002-2014 and now serve as Co-PI of that SPORE in a multi-PI structure. I am a member of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at the HDFCCC and facilitate interactions between the cancer center and the CTSI.

Research Funding

  • August 15, 2018 - July 31, 2025 - Integrating genomics and the protein interactome for HPV+ head and neck cancer therapy, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: R35CA231998
  • August 13, 2019 - May 31, 2024 - Targeting STAT3 to enhance anti-tumor immunity, Co-Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIDCR, Sponsor Award ID: R01DE028289
  • May 1, 2014 - May 31, 2024 - PI3K Pathway Mutations in Head and Neck Cancer, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIDCR, Sponsor Award ID: R01DE023685
  • July 18, 2016 - May 31, 2021 - Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCATS, Sponsor Award ID: UL1TR001872


Swarthmore College, BA, Biology, 1982
Swarthmore College, BA, Art History, 1982
University of Pittsburgh, M.D., School of Medicine, 1987
University of Pittsburgh, Residency, School of Medicine, Surgery, 1988
University of Pittsburgh, Research Fellowship, School of Medicine, Infections Disease, 1992
University of Pittsburgh, Residency, School of Medicine, Otolaryngology, 1993

Honors & Awards

  • 1987
    University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Kenneth H. Hinderer Award in Otolaryngology
  • 1987
    University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Leo H. Criep, Award in Medicine,
  • 1986 University of Pittsburgh, Alpha Omega Alpha
  • 1982
    Swarthmore College, Oak Leaf Award
  • 2002
    American Society for Clinical Investigation, Elected Member
  • 2003
    University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Scientific Leadership Award
  • 2005 -
    Pittsburgh Magazine, Top Doctor
  • 2008 -
    presAmerican Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship
  • 2009
    University of Pittsburgh, Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award
  • 2009
    MD Anderson Cancer Center, Waun Ki Hong Visiting Professorship
  • 2010
    University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Philip Hench Distinguished Alumnus Award
  • 2010
    Association of American Physicians, Elected Member
  • 2011
    University of Pittsburgh, Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring
  • 2012
    The Ochsner Clinic Foundation, Alton Oschner Award Relating Smoking and Disease
  • 2012
    Institute of Medicine (IOM) of The National Academies, Elected Member
  • 2012
    University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Distinguished Professor of Otolaryngology
  • 2014
    University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, William E. Brown Outstanding MSTP Mentor Award, Medical Scientist Training Program
  • 2015
    Peggy Wheelock Award for Excellence in Research, Mentoring, and Promotion of Women in Science

Selected Publications

  1. Disruption of the HER3-PI3K-mTOR oncogenic signaling axis and PD-1 blockade as a multimodal precision immunotherapy in head and neck cancer.  View on PubMed
  2. Geiger JL, Cedars ED, Zang Y, Normolle DP, Li H, Grandis JR, Centuori S, Johnson DE, Bauman JE Clinical trials optimizing investigator and self-collection of buccal cells for RNA yield.  View on PubMed
  3. Johnson DE, Burtness B, Leemans CR, Lui VWY, Bauman JE, Grandis JR Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.  View on PubMed
  4. Ramasamy T, Chen X, Qin B, Johnson DE, Grandis JR, Villanueva FS STAT3 decoy oligonucleotide-carrying microbubbles with pulsed ultrasound for enhanced therapeutic effect in head and neck tumors.  View on PubMed
  5. Shiah JV, Grandis JR, Johnson DE Targeting STAT3 with proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) and next generation antisense oligonucleotides.  View on PubMed
  6. Cui Z, Kang H, Grandis JR, Johnson DE CYLD Alterations in the Tumorigenesis and Progression of Human Papillomavirus-Associated Head and Neck Cancers.  View on PubMed
  7. Qureshy Z, Johnson DE, Grandis JR Targeting the JAK/STAT pathway in solid tumors.  View on PubMed
  8. Bauman JE, Ohr J, Gooding WE, Ferris RL, Duvvuri U, Kim S, Johnson JT, Soloff AC, Wallweber G, Winslow J, Gaither-Davis A, Grandis JR, Stabile LP Phase I Study of Ficlatuzumab and Cetuximab in Cetuximab-Resistant, Recurrent/Metastatic Head and Neck Cancer.  View on PubMed
  9. Izumi H, Wang Z, Goto Y, Ando T, Wu X, Zhang X, Li H, Johnson DE, Grandis JR, Gutkind JS Pathway-Specific Genome Editing of PI3K/mTOR Tumor Suppressor Genes Reveals that PTEN Loss Contributes to Cetuximab Resistance in Head and Neck Cancer.  View on PubMed
  10. Ngan HL, Liu Y, Fong AY, Poon PHY, Yeung CK, Chan SSM, Lau A, Piao W, Li H, Tse JSW, Lo KW, Chan SM, Su YX, Chan JYK, Lau CW, Mills GB, Grandis JR, Lui VWY MAPK pathway mutations in head and neck cancer affect immune microenvironments and ErbB3 signaling.  View on PubMed
  11. Lee MJ, Jin N, Grandis JR, Johnson DE Alterations and molecular targeting of the GSK-3 regulator, PI3K, in head and neck cancer.  View on PubMed
  12. O'Keefe RA, Bhola NE, Lee DS, Johnson DE, Grandis JR Interleukin 6 is increased in preclinical HNSCC models of acquired cetuximab resistance, but is not required for maintenance of resistance.  View on PubMed
  13. Lau YK, Ramaiyer M, Johnson DE, Grandis JR Targeting STAT3 in Cancer with Nucleotide Therapeutics.  View on PubMed
  14. Hu L, Li H, Lee ED, Grandis JR, Bauman JE, Johnson DE Gene targets of sulforaphane in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.  View on PubMed
  15. Cai Y, Yousef A, Grandis JR, Johnson DE NSAID therapy for PIK3CA-Altered colorectal, breast, and head and neck cancer.  View on PubMed
  16. Duvvuri U, George J, Kim S, Alvarado D, Neumeister VM, Chenna A, Gedrich R, Hawthorne T, LaVallee T, Grandis JR, Bauman JE Molecular and Clinical Activity of CDX-3379, an Anti-ErbB3 Monoclonal Antibody, in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Patients.  View on PubMed
  17. Meister KS, Godse NR, Khan NI, Hedberg ML, Kemp C, Kulkarni S, Alvarado D, LaVallee T, Kim S, Grandis JR, Duvvuri U HER3 targeting potentiates growth suppressive effects of the PI3K inhibitor BYL719 in pre-clinical models of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.  View on PubMed
  18. Leonard BC, Lee ED, Bhola NE, Li H, Sogaard KK, Bakkenist CJ, Grandis JR, Johnson DE ATR inhibition sensitizes HPV- and HPV+ head and neck squamous cell carcinoma to cisplatin.  View on PubMed
  19. Sola AM, Johnson DE, Grandis JR Investigational multitargeted kinase inhibitors in development for head and neck neoplasms.  View on PubMed
  20. Bhola NE, Jansen VM, Koch JP, Li H, Formisano L, Williams JA, Grandis JR, Arteaga CL Correction: Treatment of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer with TORC1/2 Inhibitors Sustains a Drug-Resistant and Notch-Dependent Cancer Stem Cell Population.  View on PubMed

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