Pioneer in oral cancer, HPV research to speak at ODA Annual Session

Maura Gillison, MD, PhD – the first researcher to make the association of human papillomavirus (HPV) and oral cancer – will be speaking at the ODA Annual Session.

Maura Gillison, MD, PhD – the first researcher to make the association of human papillomavirus (HPV) and oral cancer – will be speaking at the ODA Annual Session.

Gillison is the Jeg Coughlin Chair of Cancer Research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, and she is a professor of internal medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology and Epidemiology.

Gillison is the world’s most renowned researcher and expert on the connection between HPV and oral cancer.

“She changed the way dentistry and medicine and health care providers look at oral cancer and head and neck cancer. It’s something we need to know for our patients, for ourselves and for our families,” said Dr. John Mayo, an ODA Annual Session Committee member.

Gillison has made significant research contributions to the fields of tumor virology, cancer biology and epidemiology. As a result of her research findings, the National Cancer Institute has recommended that all clinical trials involving head and neck cancer be stratified by tumor HPV status.

Gillison will be presenting “HPV: The Oral Health Connection” on Thursday, Sept. 11 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the ODA Annual Session in Columbus. Attendees will learn about the reasons for the increased incidences of HPV associated cancers, the oral manifestations of the disease, signs and symptoms of the disease and the role of the dentist and dental team in screening for HPV.

While Gillison has given many presentations to the medical and research community, the ODA Annual Session will provide a unique opportunity for the dental team to see her research.

Mayo said Gillison is the most decorated, world-renowned medical speaker the ODA Annual Session has ever had.

“We’ve had tremendous dental researchers and clinicians, but we’ve never really had any medical speakers of this prominence,” Mayo said. He added that it’s especially exciting that this research is going on right in our backyard at OSU.

Gillison received her undergraduate degree from Duke University, and then went on to receive her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She did an internship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center. She received her PhD from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Gillison has published extensively in journals such as “The New England Journal of Medicine,” “Journal of The National Cancer Institute,” “Journal of Clinical Oncology” and “Journal of the American Medical Association.”