Jennifer Grandis, MD

American Cancer Society Professor
School of Medicine
Jennifer Grandis
Education and Training

Swarthmore College, BA - 1982 Biology

Swarthmore College, BA - 1982 Art History

University of Pittsburgh, M.D. - 1987 School of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh, Residency - 1988 School of Medicine, Surgery

University of Pittsburgh, Research Fellowship - 1992 School of Medicine, Infections Disease

University of Pittsburgh, Residency - 1993 School of Medicine, Otolaryngology

Awards and Honors

Oak Leaf Award, Swarthmore College, 1982

Alpha Omega Alpha, University of Pittsburgh, 1986

Leo H. Criep, Award in Medicine,, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, 1987

Kenneth H. Hinderer Award in Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, 1987

Elected Member, American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2002

Scientific Leadership Award, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, 2003

Top Doctor, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2005-2014

American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship, American Cancer Society, 2008-pres

Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, University of Pittsburgh, 2009

Waun Ki Hong Visiting Professorship, MD Anderson Cancer Center, 2009

Philip Hench Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2010

Elected Member, Association of American Physicians, 2010

Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, University of Pittsburgh, 2011

Distinguished Professor of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2012

Alton Oschner Award Relating Smoking and Disease, The Ochsner Clinic Foundation, 2012

Elected Member, Institute of Medicine (IOM) of The National Academies, 2012

William E. Brown Outstanding MSTP Mentor Award, Medical Scientist Training Program, University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, 2014

Peggy Wheelock Award for Excellence in Research, Mentoring, and Promotion of Women in Science, 2015
Dr. Jennifer R. Grandis received her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, and completed her internship from the same institution. Dr. Grandis completed both a residency and an Infectious Disease fellowship from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining UCSF, Dr. Grandis was the UPMC Endowed Chair in Head and Neck Cancer Surgical Research and Distinguished Professor of Otolaryngology and Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh. She led the Head and Neck Cancer Program and was the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Otolaryngology.

Dr. Grandis’s research focuses on the signal transduction in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) development and progression with the ultimate goal of targeting key pathways for therapeutic benefit. By taking key findings from the clinic and investigating mechanisms in a series of preclinical models, as well as developing novel therapeutic approaches in the laboratory and carrying out innovative clinical trials that employ these treatment strategies.

Dr. Grandis is an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor, and a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Association of Physicians and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. She has published over 260 peer-reviewed articles. She has also contributed to more than 50 review articles and book chapters.

Dr. Grandis's is dedicated to increasing our understanding of the genetic and epigenetic alterations in the upper aerodigestive tract mucosa, which mediate head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) progression. The overall goal is to identify predictive biomarkers, which can serve to select patients for therapies, including molecular targeting approaches. Translational resources developed to support projects include a large collection of patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) and tissue microarrays of over 500 human HNSCCs linked to a professionally curated clinical and pathologic database that includes information on treatment and survival. To date, the have examined the role of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), it’s ligands coordinate activation of STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription) in head and neck carcinogenesis. Cumulative evidence from her laboratory suggests that TGF-?lpha/EGFR autocrine signaling leading to STAT3 activation is as early event in head and neck carcinogenesis. Strategies aimed at blocking the ligand, receptor or signaling protein demonstrated anti-tumor efficacy in preclinical models. Based on these promising results, they completed a Phase I clinical trial to investigate the toxicity and biologic effects of EGFR antisense gene therapy and a Phase II study was recently closed to accrual. They have developed STAT3 targeting strategies using a decoy oligonucleotide approach and early phase clinical testing demonstrated feasibility without toxicity. Ongoing studies are aimed at identifying the targetable genetic alterations in these cancers with the goal of designing precision medicine approaches. Emerging targets include activating mutations of the PI3K signaling pathway, primarily in HNSCC linked to HPV infection and mutation or promoter hypermethylation of selected PTPRs, which lead to STAT3 activation.

General Otolaryngology

Clinical and translational research

Professional Interests:
Head and neck cancer, signal transduction, precision medicine, experimental therapeutics, preclinical cancer models, receptor crosstalk

Education and Training:
• Medical School: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
• Internship: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
• Residency: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
• Fellowship: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA – Infectious Disease