Headshot of Sid Puram, MD, PhD
Sid Puram, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Puram joined the Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University in 2018. He is fellowship trained in head and neck surgery and microvascular reconstruction. He is also the recipient of numerous research awards. He is devoted to improving the lives of head and neck cancer patients through his clinical practice and research. Check out his biosketch to learn more about Dr. Puram. Dr. Puram grew up in Edina, Minnesota and received dual degrees (B.S.) in Biology and Neuroscience from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005. At MIT, he became interested in aspects of immunology and drug delivery, working in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Langer (Institute Professor) to develop novel pH-trigged polymer microspheres for the delivery of genetic vaccines. This experience sparked his interest in research, and he joined the Harvard Medical Scientist Training Program, where he completed his PhD studies in Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School under the guidance of Dr. Azad Bonni. His primary research focus was on understanding the proteins that drive dendrite growth and retraction in the mammalian neurons, with a specific focus on ubiquitin family pathways and centrosomal signaling. He also dedicated himself to studying the pathways that promote glioblastoma tumorigenesis, an incurable cancer of the brain. Following his MD-PhD, Dr. Puram began his training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Harvard/Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Program, where he completed his clinical training and a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Bradley Bernstein (Massachusetts General Hospital/Broad Institute). In Dr. Bernstein’s lab, he completed the first comprehensive single cell atlas of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, a major human epithelial carcinoma. By analyzing matched primary tumors and metastastic lymph nodes, these analyses revealed important insights into head and neck cancer, including identification of a partial epithelial-to-mesenchymal program that may drive metastasis and invasion. Dr. Puram completed his clinical training with a fellowship at the James Cancer Center at Ohio State University in Head and Neck Surgery and Microvascular Reconstruction thereafter. He was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and Department of Genetics at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Puram has received numerous awards for his research and clinical work including the Jeffrey P. Harris, MD, PhD Chief Resident Research Award, Chief Resident Award for Excellence in Teaching, William Montgomery, Richard Belluci, and John Conley Triologic Society Resident Research Awards, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Resident CORE Grant, New England Otolaryngology Society Resident Research Award, and Leon Reznick Memorial Prize for Excellence in Research at Harvard Medical School, among others. Dr. Puram is passionate about improving the lives of head and neck cancer patients through his clinical practice and research endeavors.

Tom Barrett, MD
Resident in otolaryngology

Tom received his MD from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City in 2018, graduating with a distinction in research. He joined the WashU otolaryngology residency as a member of the T32 Physician Scientist Training Program. He joined Dr. Puram’s lab in the Summer of 2020 for two years of dedicated research time. He strives to improve the lives of patients with head and neck cancer both in the lab and at the bedside.

Robert Crowder, PhD
Staff scientist

Bob earned his PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Rochester studying NGF-dependent cell survival signaling. He then pursued post-doctoral studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He has spent the past decade conducting oncology research and developing novel therapeutic approaches to improve outcomes in breast cancer patients. He joined the Puram lab in 2019.

Yi-HSuan Chang
Graduate student

Yi-Hsuan grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, where he completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees at National Taiwan University. He came to St. Louis in the summer of 2019 to start his PhD studies in Molecular Cell Biology. He is interested in studying the underlyhing mechanisms for HNSCC progression in order to identify potential therapeutic targets. Outside of the lab, he enjoys reading novels, watching TV shows, and playing board games.

Marina Nogueira
Graduate student

Marina is an MD/PhD student at Washington University in St. Louis studying transcriptional regulation by p63 in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. She grew up in Santa Cruz, California and studied molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton University. Outside of the lab, she enjoys swimming, cycling, and trying to taste all the ice cream in St. Louis. 

Reilly (Alex) Sample
Predoctoral research scholar

Reilly (Alex) Sample is a visiting pre-doctoral research fellow who is currently between his 3rd and 4th years of medical school at UT Southwestern. His research interests include cancer biology, HPV, genetics, and health outcomes. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in clinical investigation through a TL1 grant from the NIH. He enjoys running, cycling, backpacking, and reading.

Fudong Wang, PhD
Lab manager, Staff scientist

Fudong received his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Washington University. He is the lab manager. His research focuses on characterizing epigenetic and transcriptomic heterogeneity in head and neck cancers and understanding the mechanisms that underlie their growth, development, and spread using single cell technologies. Hobbies: sports, hiking, reading, and photography.

Zongtai Qi, PhD
Postdoctoral fellow

Zongtai completed his graduate study in genetics and genomics at Washington University.  He is interested in applying novel genomic methods to critical clinical questions and building new frameworks to analyze large amounts of sequencing data. He is now exploring cancer-related single-cell sequencing data to better understand the mechanism that underlies tumor heterogeneity and support new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.