Natalia Issaeva

PhD
Assistant Professor
UNC-Chapel Hill
Cancer Cell Biology

Area of interest

Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) comprise a diverse group of tumors, which are classified into anatomical subsites including oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, larynx, and nasopharynx. Cancers of different subsites have unique epidemiology, anatomy, clinical behavior, and association with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. While HPV-negative head and neck cancers continue to have significantly worse survival rates than HPV-positive cancers, HPV-driven oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) has become a matter of growing clinical urgency as its incidence has dramatically increased in recent years and continues to grow; however, despite the continuous rise of HPV-related OPSCC, molecular mechanisms of how HPV promotes OPSCC are not well defined. My ongoing research projects are focused on the understanding the role of HPV in the development, maintenance, and progression of OPSCC and designing novel therapeutic strategies to target head and neck tumors exploiting their various defects and “Achilles heel”.