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Barbara Burtness, MD

Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology); Disease Aligned Research Team Leader, Head and Neck Cancers Program; Co-Leader, Developmental Therapeutics, Yale Cancer Center

Years active at Yale: 1989 - present

Dr. Burtness is being recognized for a pioneer clinical study of epidermal growth factor (EGFR) inhibition. As part of that study, she administered the first-in-human dose of cetuximab, an antibody that leads the cell to degrade the EGFR, at Yale in 1995.

In her role as chair of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Head and Neck Therapeutics Committee, Dr. Burtness led the field in studying (human papillomavirus) HPV-driven head and neck cancer as a distinct disease, and pioneered the study of treatment deintensification. She introduced bevacizumab into treatment of metastatic disease, and established the first cooperative group trial of minimally invasive surgery for HPV-driven disease. She has recently completed the first randomized trial incorporating immune checkpoint inhibition with chemotherapy for metastatic head and neck cancer. Dr. Burtness has mentored many oncologists who are now important leaders in the field of head and neck cancer.She received the Robert L. Krigel Award for Excellence in Teaching and Clinical Oncology from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in 2012, and was named Top Doctor in U.S. News and World Report.