Interim Dean, College of Medicine
Chair, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
After earning a PhD and medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Rocco entered the otolaryngology residency program at Johns Hopkins Hospital, combining his clinical training with research on head and neck cancer. In 1999 he joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School, moving to the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts General Hospital, where he established both an active clinical practice and a NIH-funded research laboratory focused on identifying biomarkers of clinical outcome in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. During this period, he served at the director of Head and Neck Research at both the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Massachusetts General Hospital and held the Daniel Miller Chair of Head and Neck Research at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Rocco was recruited to the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute in 2015 to serve in multiple roles—director of the Division of Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery, medical director of the Head and Neck Service Line and director of the Head and Neck Disease Specific Research Group—while expanding his laboratory research and continuing to train future leaders in the field of head and neck oncology. He holds the Mary E. and John W. Alford Cancer Chair of Research in Head and Neck Cancer.
In 2017, Dr. Rocco was named chair of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Ohio State.
Dr. Rocco leads an active R01-funded research effort that is focused on identifying biomarkers of clinical outcome in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, and was the principal investigator of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) trial targeting blood vessel growth in patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck disease.
Nationally, he has served in many specialty organizations, advisory boards, grant review panels, editorial boards and national clinical panels, including the American Joint Committee on Cancer, ECOG-ACRIN (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-American College of Radiology Imaging Network), National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and NRG Oncology. In this capacity, he served as a special clinical expert to the NCI steering committee, the College of American Pathologist’s task force on HPV testing standards and the American Society for Radiation Oncology task force on oropharyngeal cancer therapeutic guidelines.
Dr. Rocco currently serves on the NRG Oncology Head and Neck Core Committee, the NCCN Head and Neck Guidelines Panel and co-chairs the NCI Head and Neck Recurrent and Metastatic Disease task force. He has also been an active participant within the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) over the last 15 years, and currently serves as the chair of the AHNS Research Committee, as well as a member of the AHNS executive committee and foundation board.
Dr. Rocco has served on several editorial boards including Journal of Clinical Oncology, Head and Neck, Oral Oncology and Annals of Surgical Oncology, and is now an associate editor for both Head and Neck and Oral Oncology, the preeminent journals in head and neck oncology. He has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific and clinical manuscripts and has been interviewed extensively by the lay press regarding head and neck cancer on numerous occasions, including interviews for Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.