Steven B. Chinn, MD

Dr. Steven Chinn is a Head and Neck Surgical Oncologist at the University of Michigan. ( He received his medical degree (MD) from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in 2008, graduating with Senior Honors and elected into the National Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He completed his post-graduate surgical training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Michigan in 2014 during which he completed an concurrent 18-month NIH funded research fellowship in the Molecular Genetics and Cellular Biology of Head and Neck Cancer. He then completed a two-year dual fellowship in Head & Neck Surgical Oncology and Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Chinn also holds a graduate degree (MPH) in Molecular Epidemiology from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Dr. Chinn joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 2016, and currently serves as an Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. He is a member of the Head and Neck Oncology Division, an active member of the Head and Neck Oncology Translational Research Program, and a member of the University of Michigan Rogel Comprehensive Cancer Center. His clinical expertise is in the treatment of all types of head and neck cancer, including minimally invasive robotic surgery. He also specializes in complex reconstructive surgery to restore form and function after cancer treatment. His research interests include molecular genetics of oral cavity cancer, head and neck cancer stem cells, the molecular mechanisms of metastasis, and outcomes research with an emphasis on improving survival and functional outcomes.

Prior to medical school he spent time in the Lee lab studying the impact of vascular occlusion on a radiofrequency ablation in a porcine liver model. ( He credits his time in the Lee lab is one of the one of the primary experiences that invigorated his desire to become a surgeon-scientist and credits his success to the mentorship still provided by Dr. Lee. Since his time with Dr. Lee he has advanced his research career with over 50 peer reviewed publications (, serves on multiple national cancer committees, is an Associate Editor for one of the premiere head and neck cancer journals (Head and Neck), active in both internal and national clinical trials, and has been awarded several internal and external research grants including those from the NCI/NIH. Currently the Chinn Lab studies the Molecular Biology of Oral Cancer with an emphasis on single cell analysis of cancer stem cells and exploring the therapeutic and prognostic implications based on the molecular landscape of head and neck cancer.

While his specific career path differs from Dr. Lee, the goal to help patients through translational research remains a unifying goal. Furthermore, based on the mentorship he received from Dr. Lee, one of his primary goals as a faculty member is to mentor students and fellows like Dr. Lee did for him and is always happy to provide insight into each mentees career path.