Daniel L. Faden, M.D.

Research Summary

Research Area Affiliations

Research Summary

Dr. Daniel Faden’s research examines how acquired genomic alterations and viral infection effect head and neck cancer initiation, growth, and response to treatment. As a practicing head and neck cancer surgeon, the overarching goal of his research is to translate findings from the laboratory to clinical advancements that address the most pressing problems faced by head and neck cancer patients.

His efforts are centered on two overlapping arenas: 

Understanding mutation acquisition and host-viral interactions in human papilloma virus (HPV)-associated head and neck cancer 

A subset of head and neck cancers are caused by viral infection, including HPV. HPV-associated cancers behave differently than non-virally-associated head and neck cancers and are increasing in prevalence, surpassing cervical cancer as the most common HPV-associated malignancy in the U.S. Despite this, little is known regarding how HPV-associated head and neck cancers go from a cell that has become infected with HPV to a full-fledged cancer. Dr. Faden’s research aims to elucidate this process, including how HPV leads to host mutations and how features specific to the virus dictate the behavior of the tumor. Understanding this process is vital for improved diagnostics and treatment decision-making.

Defining how the genomic and immunogenomic landscape of head and neck cancers affects tumor behavior and treatment response 

In recent years there has been a rapid accumulation of information regarding the genomic landscape of head and neck cancer. We now know that head and neck cancers possess a complex array of genomic and transcriptomic alterations and largely lack recurrent targetable mutations. In part because of this diversity, we have not yet seen the marked increase in knowledge translate to measurable improvements in patient care. Dr. Faden’s research is focused on understanding how these various acquired alterations impact tumor behavior and treatment response. To do so, he is studying unique and tightly curated head and neck cancer cohorts to help distinguish meaningful signatures from noise.


Select Publications

Clinical, genomic, and metagenomic characterization of oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma in patients who do not smoke. Li R, Faden DL, Fakhry C, Langelier C, Jiao Y, Wang Y, Wilkerson MD, Pedamallu CS, Old M, Lang J, Loyo M, Ahn SM, Tan M, Gooi Z, Chan J, Richmon J, Wood LD, Hruban RH, Bishop J, Westra WH, Chung CH, Califano J, Gourin CG, Bettegowda C, Meyerson M, Papadopoulos N, Kinzler KW, Vogelstein B, DeRisi JL, Koch WM, Agrawal N. Head Neck. 2015 Nov;37(11):1642–9.

Targeted next-generation sequencing of TP53 in oral tongue carcinoma from non-smokers. Faden DL, Arron ST, Heaton CM, DeRisi J, South AP, Wang SJ. J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016 Sep 17;45(1):47.

Durable treatment of ameloblastoma with single agent BRAFi Re: Clinical and radiographic response with combined BRAF-targeted therapy in stage 4 ameloblastoma. Faden DL, Algazi A. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2016 Sep 26;109(1).

Whole exome sequencing of growing and non-growing cutaneous neurofibromas from a single patient with Neurofibromatosis Type 1. Faden DL, Asthana S, Tihan T, DeRisi J, Kliot M. PLoS One. 2017 Jan 18;12(1):e0170348.

Multi-modality analysis supports APOBEC as a major source of mutations in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Faden DL, Thomas S, Cantalupo PG, Agrawal N, Myers J, DeRisi J. Oral Oncol. 2017 Nov;74:8–14.

View a complete list of publications on pubmed.gov »



BS, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
MD, Boston University School of Medicine

Postgraduate Training

2010–2011: Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholar, National Institutes of Health, National Human Genome Research Institute
2011–2016: Residency, Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of California, San Francisco
2016–2017: Surgical Fellowship, Advanced Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
2017–2018: Surgical Fellowship, Cranial Base Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
2016–2018: NIH/NCI Postdoctoral Training in Head and Neck Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Professional Memberships

2011–Present: Triological Society
2011–Present: American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
2015–Present: American Head and Neck Society
2015–Present: American Thyroid Association
2015–Present: North American Skull Base Society
2015–Present: American College of Surgeons
2016–Present: American Head and Neck Society, Endocrine Surgery Section
2017–Present: American Association of Cancer Research
2018–Present: American Society of Clinical Oncology

Awards and Honors

2003: William J. Branstrom Prize, University of Michigan
2004: James B. Angell Scholar, University of Michigan
2007: Miller International Health Prize, Boston University School of Medicine
2009: Gold Humanism Honor Society, Boston University School of Medicine
2009: Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society, Boston University School of Medicine
2013, 2014, 2015: Resident Research Award, UCSF Department of Otolaryngology
2015: International Travel Fellowship, Middle East Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
2015: Head and Neck Cancer Research Award, Annual Middle East Update in Otolaryngology
2015: Humanitarian Prize, American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
2015: Mount Zion Health Fund Prize, Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco
2017: Scholar in Training Award, American Association of Cancer Research

Editorial Roles

2014–Present: Reviewer, Journal of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
2016–Present: Reviewer, Head and Neck Journal