Baran Sumer, M.D., is Professor and Chief of the Division of Head and Neck Oncology in UT Southwestern Medical Center's Department of Otolaryngology, where he has served on the faculty since 2007. A specialist in head and neck cancer surgery and reconstruction, Dr. Sumer is also Director of the Head and Neck Oncology Disease Oriented Team at Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center and holds the T.C. Lupton Family Professorship in Patient Care. He is also the Program Director for the Head and Neck Oncology and Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery fellowship.

After receiving a B.A. at Rutgers University, Dr. Sumer earned his medical degree at Case Western Reserve University. He then completed an internship in general surgery, a residency in otolaryngology, and a fellowship in head and neck oncologic surgery with a focus on transoral laser surgery and microvascular reconstruction at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine.

Dr. Sumer is on the clinical staff at the North Texas VA Medical Center, the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, UT Southwestern Medical Center, and Parkland Health & Hospital System, all in Dallas, Texas.

He has participated in a wide variety of research studies devoted to advancing diagnostic and therapeutic techniques and technologies for head and neck cancer such as fluorescent imaging, biosensing, photodynamic therapy, multimodal therapies, and oral cancer surgical reconstruction techniques.

Dr. Sumer’s work with the pH Nanosensor, a tool that facilitates cancer research by illuminating cancerous areas in the body, was featured in the Dallas Morning News.

He serves as a reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals, including Nature Biomedical Engineering, Head and Neck, Laryngoscope, Experimental Biology and Medicine, International Journal of Otolaryngology, and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. He is also an editor for the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Among numerous recognitions, honors, and awards, Dr. Sumer has been recognized as among the best otolaryngology physicians in North Texas by D Magazine. He is also the recipient of a Texas Instruments Corporate Award Research Gift, the Triological Society Francis Lederer FUSION Grant for Nanotechnology Research, and the SEBM Best Paper Award in the Alan MacDiarmid Interdisciplinary Research Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.

Dr. Sumer serves as principal investigator on several research projects funded by R01 and U01 awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and grants from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) and biotechnology companies including OncoNano Medicine.

Meet Dr. Sumer

Head and Neck Cancer Specialist in Dallas

The head and neck have many critical blood vessels, nerves, and structures that affect appearance as well as key functions such as speaking and swallowing. Because of the skill required to treat cancers in this area, patients with head and neck cancer should seek experts with mastery of the most recent treatments.

Otolaryngologist Baran Sumer, M.D., leads a team of head and neck cancer experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center offering the latest therapies, including minimally invasive surgical techniques and targeted radiation and chemotherapy.

Thanks to the latest advances in robotic surgery, many head and neck cancers can be removed with minimal damage to healthy tissues.

“These procedures tend to be much better tolerated by patients than surgery in the past, which would often result in problems with swallowing and speech,” Dr. Sumer says. “We perform endoscopic and robotic procedures that allow us to go through the mouth, requiring no incisions on the outside of a patient’s neck or face.”

D Magazine Best Doctor, Dr. Sumer has a special focus on transoral robotic procedures (TORS) and laser procedures. Dr. Sumer made medical history in North Texas when he became the first surgeon in the region to perform a TORS procedure to remove a throat malignancy. A multi-year, multi-institutional study, E3311, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2022, has shown that TORS can safely reduce the amount of chemotherapy and radiation for patients with resectable p16+ locally advanced oropharynx cancer.

Comprehensive, multidisciplinary care

In addition to surgical, radiation, and medical oncologists, UT Southwestern’s head and neck cancer team includes plastic reconstructive surgeons, speech pathologists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, nutritionists, and physical and occupational therapists.

“Physicians do play an important role in the treatment of head and neck cancer,” Dr. Sumer says, “but it’s the multidisciplinary care, counseling, and rehabilitation our team offers that ultimately allow patients to achieve the best quality of life.” 

The benefits of this collaborative approach to treatment of these complex cancers are seen every day at UT Southwestern.

“We’ve had patients who were told by other physicians that they would need their entire tongues removed, or that they would need a hole in their neck to breathe through for the rest of their lives,” Dr. Sumer says. “We were able to cure their malignancies and preserve their swallowing and speech. You can imagine how important that is, not only for people whose livelihoods involve speaking, but for everyday activities that we otherwise tend to take for granted.

“I have had many patients return to thank me, saying, ‘I can go out to restaurants and enjoy eating dinner in public with my family and friends.’ That's a very rewarding feeling.”

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Education & Training
  • Fellowship - Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine (2006-2007), Head & Neck Oncologic Surgery
  • Residency - Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine (2002-2006), Otolaryngology
  • Internship - Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine (2001-2002), General Surgery
  • Medical School - Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (1997-2001)
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • Texas Medical Association
  • American Head and Neck Society
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery
Honors & Awards
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Clinical Sciences 2008, Research Grant
  • Texas Instruments Corporate Award 2008, Research Grant
  • American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery 2008, Research Award
  • Triological Society Francis Lederer 2011, FUSION Grant for Nanotechnology Research
  • Alan MacDiarmid Interdisciplinary Research- Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 2014
  • Winner Lloyd Storrs Resident Award (Mentor) 2015, Teaching
Books & Publications
  • Books
  • Machine Learning
  • Nanoprobes
  • Cancer Metabolism
  • Cancer Immunotherapy

Clinical Focus

  • Surgical Treatment of Head & Neck Cancers
  • Skull Base Surgery
  • Surgical Treatment of Benign Head & Neck Conditions
  • Medical Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer
  • Transoral Laser Surgery
  • Transoral Robotic Surgery
  • Head & Neck Cancers

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Q&A by Dr. Sumer