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Surgeon-Scientist Dr. Sara Pai Brings Pioneering Head & Neck Cancer Lab to Yale Surgery

November 17, 2023
by Elisabeth Reitman

The Yale Department of Surgery is pleased to welcome Sara Pai, MD/PhD, an NIH-funded surgeon-scientist, who has deepened our understanding on how human papillomavirus (HPV) evades the immune system.

Dr. Pai’s recruitment as a professor in the Division of Otolaryngology reflects the accomplishments of her lab and contributions to head and neck cancer surgery. Dr. Pai’s translational research laboratory focuses on the development of novel immunomodulatory therapies for head and neck cancer patients and the discovery and clinical application of diagnostic and/or predictive biomarkers.

Dr. Pai brings extraordinary expertise in clinical trial development and the delivery of precision medicine.

Nita Ahuja, MD, MBA

“Dr. Pai brings extraordinary expertise in clinical trial development and the delivery of precision medicine. Her arrival furthers the Department’s commitment to supporting the research efforts of surgeon scientists and to the continued development of research clusters that promote collaborations and efficiency across our teams, and with the Yale Cancer Center,” said department chair Nita Ahuja, MD, MBA, William H. Carmalt Professor of Surgery.

Dr. Pai graduated Summa Cum Laude from Dartmouth College with a major in biochemistry and molecular biology. After graduating Dartmouth, she completed the MD/PhD program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in which she obtained her PhD training in cancer immunology and vaccines. After completing her residency in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins, she joined its faculty from 2007-2014. Subsequently, she joined the Division of Surgical Oncology in the Department of Surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts and served as an associate professor of surgery.

Dr. Pai is the principal investigator of several cancer and cancer immunotherapy clinical trials. She has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications and currently serves as deputy editor of the journal Cancer Research.

Submitted by Elisabeth Reitman on November 17, 2023