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Head and Neck Cancer Research

Walter T. Lee, MD, MHS, FACS

Dr. Walter Lee (Associate Professor) has a research focus on improving the delivery of value based health care in low resource settings, particularly through implementation of innovative devices. His research has been funded by internal (e.g. Duke BME and the Duke Global Health Institute) and external sources, most recently an R01 to implement a low-cost nasopharyngoscope in Vietnam. Dr. Lee also has an educational research focus on virtue-based leadership and professional development. This work has been adopted in the Duke University School of Medicine, Durham VA Medical Center, and throughout the Department of Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences.

Tammara Watts, MD, PhD

Dr. Watts' laboratory focuses on the pathophysiology of the tumor microenvironment HPV-negative head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Their long-term objective is to understand the bidirectional signaling mechanisms between MSCs, oral cavity, and oropharyngeal cancer that governs epitheilal to mesenchymal transition (EMT) along with elucidating how cancer cells render the stroma pro-tumorigenic, with the translational aim of designing stromal based targeted therapy to improve cisplatin responsiveness in head and neck cancer.