My scientific background includes training in biochemistry, neurobiology, drug delivery, cancer biology, and residency training in otolaryngology (head and neck surgery). My research began as an undergraduate in the laboratory of Robert Langer at MIT, where I identified novel methods for DNA vaccine delivery using pH-sensitive, biocompatible polymer microspheres (Choleris et al, PNAS 2007; Little et al, Journal of Controlled Release 2005; Little et al, PNAS 2004). Following my undergraduate degrees in Biology and Neuroscience, I entered the Medical Scientist Training Program at Harvard Medical School where I graduated Magna Cum Laude (M.D.) with a PhD in Pathology from the Biology and Biomedical Sciences program. Working in the laboratory of Azad Bonni, I was able to define mechanisms that drive dendrite growth and retraction, including a centrosomal signaling pathway linking calcium signaling at the membrane to the ubiquitin proteasome system (Kim et al., Cell 2009; Puram et al, Nature Neuroscience 2011; Puram et al, Genes and Development, 2011; Puram et al., Cell Reports 2013). These studies identified an entirely novel function for the abundant protein CaMKIIß, which represents 1-2% of protein in the brain, together establishing a major area of research into the homeostatic mechanisms orchestrating dendrite pruning and remodeling (Valnegri*, Puram* et al, Trends in Neuroscience 2015; Puram et al, Development 2015; Puram and Bonni, Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 2011; Puram et al, Cell Cycle 2010). I was able to apply skills in biochemistry and cell biology to additional graduate studies on the context-dependent, dual role of the transcription factor STAT3 as an oncogene and tumor suppressor in human glioma models (de la Igelesia et al, Genes and Development 2008; Puram et al, Journal of Neuroscience 2012; Jahani-Asl et al, Nature Neuroscience 2016). These studies challenged the traditional view of transcription factors as unidirectional drivers in oncology, while identifying genetic context-specific pathways that may regulate glioma tumorigenesis (de la Iglesia et al, Current Molecular Medicine 2009). Together, these experiences stimulated a deep interest in tumor biology and the mechanisms that drive growth, invasion, and metastasis, while providing a rich skill set to complete further studies. I am now applying this experience to a post-doctoral project in Brad Bernstein’s laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital where we are leveraging single cell RNA sequencing to define intratumoral heterogeneity in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. I have successfully mentored trainees and developed collaborative efforts related to this project, while pursuing additional studies ranging from genomic analyses of adenoid cystic carcinoma, esthesioneuroblastoma, and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma to basic biological studies of squamous cell differentiation. We hope that our efforts will provide an advanced understanding of diverse cellular populations and the genetic mechanisms governing cancers of the head and neck (Puram et al, Hematology Oncology Clinics of North America 2015). My clinical interests include electrophysiologic parameters defining intraoperative injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve, transfusion outcomes following head and neck free and pedicled flap reconstruction, and national health care metrics after head and neck cancer surgery.