Joseph A. Califano III

Joseph A. Califano III

Professor and vice chief of the Division of Otolaryngology in the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine

Joseph A. Califano III, MD, is a board-certified otolaryngologist who specializes in head and neck surgical oncology, and the integration of basic, molecular biologic research in that practice. His expertise includes minimally invasive treatment of tumors of the oral cavity, larynx, pharynx, thyroid, and neck to minimize cosmetic impact and maximize function, with an interest in tumors of the skull base, mouth, salivary glands, and premalignant conditions of the upper aerodigestive tract.

Dr. Califano emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach and coordinating different areas of medical expertise to optimize the care for complex patients.

As the physician in chief for Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, Dr. Califano oversees clinical operations and all related inpatient and outpatient oncology services at UC San Diego Health, as well as operations with affiliates and outreach clinics. He participates in Board of Visitors and philanthropy meetings, and is appointed to the Cancer Center Executive Committee, where he works in partnership with the chief administration officer on operational and strategic opportunities that further the mission and vision of the cancer center.

Dr. Califano is a professor and Iris and Matthew Strauss Chancellor’s Endowed Chair in Head and Neck Surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine. As a world-class physician-scientist, he has translated multiple discoveries from laboratory to clinic, including the application of sequencing technologies to create an early detection method for HPV-related and other head and neck cancers.

He actively participates in several areas of investigation including integrative network based molecular analysis of head and neck tumors; detection of recurrent and occult cancer within blood and saliva using molecular biologic techniques; and defining the underlying biology of head and neck cancers. Dr. Califano also currently serves as the lead investigator for clinical trials that explore early detection of head and neck cancers and well as molecular detection of recurrence.

Dr. Califano directs a laboratory focused on the molecular biologic basis of head and neck cancer. He has published over 260 peer reviewed articles related to both the clinical and basic scientific aspects of cancer, and serves on a variety of professional organizations and editorial boards, including the NCI Head and Neck Steering Committee, as well as the Council of the American Head and Neck Society.

Prior to joining UC San Diego Health in 2015, Dr. Califano was a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Dr. Califano completed a fellowship in head and neck surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a residency in otolaryngology – head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and is board certified in otolaryngology.