Carter Van Waes, M.D., Ph.D.

Scientist Emeritus

Head and Neck Surgery Branch


Building 10, Room 7N240D
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892


Research Topics

The Head and Neck Surgery Branch (HNSB) includes the Tumor Biology Section and Clinical Genomics, which conduct laboratory clinical studies and trials concerning the pathogenesis, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of head and neck neoplasms that affect human communication. Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the most prevalent malignancy involving the upper aerodigestive tract which affects voice, speech, taste, smell, hearing, and balance as well as survival. About 52,000 Americans develop neoplasms of the upper aerodigestive tract each year, and approximately 320,000 Americans currently suffer significant impairment of communication and other disability as a result of tumor destruction or ablative surgical and radiation therapy. Despite therapy, more than 8,000 of these patients die annually in the U.S. New modalities for prevention and therapy are needed in order to improve survival and preservation of function.


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1985
  • M.D., University of Chicago, 1987
  • Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Michigan, 1993

Selected Publications

  1. Xiao R, Allen CT, Tran L, Patel P, Park SJ, Chen Z, Van Waes C, Schmitt NC. Antagonist of cIAP1/2 and XIAP enhances anti-tumor immunity when combined with radiation and PD-1 blockade in a syngeneic model of head and neck cancer. Oncoimmunology. 2018;7(9):e1471440.
  2. Campbell JD, Yau C, Bowlby R, Liu Y, Brennan K, Fan H, Taylor AM, Wang C, Walter V, Akbani R, Byers LA, Creighton CJ, Coarfa C, Shih J, Cherniack AD, Gevaert O, Prunello M, Shen H, Anur P, Chen J, Cheng H, Hayes DN, Bullman S, Pedamallu CS, Ojesina AI, Sadeghi S, Mungall KL, Robertson AG, Benz C, Schultz A, Kanchi RS, Gay CM, Hegde A, Diao L, Wang J, Ma W, Sumazin P, Chiu HS, Chen TW, Gunaratne P, Donehower L, Rader JS, Zuna R, Al-Ahmadie H, Lazar AJ, Flores ER, Tsai KY, Zhou JH, Rustgi AK, Drill E, Shen R, Wong CK, Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network., Stuart JM, Laird PW, Hoadley KA, Weinstein JN, Peto M, Pickering CR, Chen Z, Van Waes C. Genomic, Pathway Network, and Immunologic Features Distinguishing Squamous Carcinomas. Cell Rep. 2018;23(1):194-212.e6.
  3. Saleh AD, Cheng H, Martin SE, Si H, Ormanoglu P, Carlson S, Clavijo PE, Yang X, Das R, Cornelius S, Couper J, Chepeha D, Danilova L, Harris TM, Prystowsky MB, Childs GJ, Smith RV, Robertson AG, Jones SJM, Cherniack AD, Kim SS, Rait A, Pirollo KF, Chang EH, Chen Z, Van Waes C. Integrated Genomic and Functional microRNA Analysis Identifies miR-30-5p as a Tumor Suppressor and Potential Therapeutic Nanomedicine in Head and Neck Cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2019;25(9):2860-2873.
  4. Cheng H, Yang X, Si H, Saleh AD, Xiao W, Coupar J, Gollin SM, Ferris RL, Issaeva N, Yarbrough WG, Prince ME, Carey TE, Van Waes C, Chen Z. Genomic and Transcriptomic Characterization Links Cell Lines with Aggressive Head and Neck Cancers. Cell Rep. 2018;25(5):1332-1345.e5.
  5. Sun L, Moore E, Berman R, Clavijo PE, Saleh A, Chen Z, Van Waes C, Davies J, Friedman J, Allen CT. WEE1 kinase inhibition reverses G2/M cell cycle checkpoint activation to sensitize cancer cells to immunotherapy. Oncoimmunology. 2018;7(10):e1488359.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Tuesday, July 5, 2022