Liverpool Head & Neck Centre

Richard Shaw

Professor Richard Shaw

Consultant Oral & Maxillofacial / Head & Neck Surgeon

I am an academic Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon specializing in head and neck cancer and reconstruction. I graduated from the Universities in Bristol and Glasgow with primary degrees in dentistry and medicine. After surgical training in Glasgow, I undertook higher training in OMFS and a head & neck oncology fellowship.  Integrated within this clinical training, I completed my MD research thesis in the University of LIverpool as a RCSEng Research Fellow, as well as DoH Genetics in Healthcare Fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Centre USA. I was appointed to Liverpool University and Aintree in 2007, gaining a personal chair in 2012. I am the chair of the Mersey Head & Neck Oncology Group (MHNORG), the research arm of Liverpool Head & Neck Centre. MHNORG is an expanding and vibrant multidisciplinary collaboration of clinicians and scientists committed to improving understanding and treatment of malignancies of the mouth, throat and larynx.

  • My clinical role is as a head and neck surgeon specialising in oral cavity, microvascular reconstruction, osteoradionecrosis and premalignancy. I have innovated in composite, chimeric and perforator free flaps, sentinel node biopsy and the management of oral dysplasia and lead several multicentre randomised controlled trials.   

  • I lead the University of Liverpool MSc in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, initiated in 2010. This masters pathway has five specialty modules, of which I lead two, reflecting the breadth of the OMFS curriculum.

  • Following several senior roles in the NCRI Clinical Studies Groups, I was appointed as an associate director of NIHR CRN(Cancer) 2014-2021 with specific remit for advancing surgical oncology trials and the role of surgeons in the national cancer portfolio.  I am president elect of the International Academy of Oral Oncology 2023, and I chair the H&N Cancer arm of the COVIDSurg collaborative.

  • My main research interests are currently:

    • Premalignancy, prevention and early detection of oral cancer

    • Late effects, particularly late radiation toxicities such as mandibular osteoradionecrosis

    • COVIDSurg – the impact of the pandemic on head and neck cancer, and cancer surgery

    1. Insight into metastatic oral cancer tissue from novel analyses using FTIR spectroscopy and aperture IR-SNOM. Analyst, 2021, 146, 4895. DOI: 10.1039/d1an00922b

    2. Head and neck cancer surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic: an international, multicentre, observational cohort study. COVIDSurg Collaborative. Cancer; 2020 doi. 10.1002/cncr.33320 (corresponding author)

    3. Elective Cancer Surgery in COVID-19-Free Surgical Pathways During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: An International, Multicenter, Comparative Cohort Study. COVIDSurg Collaborative. J Clin Oncol. 2020 doi: 10.1200/JCO.20.01933

    4. Guidelines for cellular and molecular pathology content in clinical trial protocols: the SPIRIT-Path extension. SPIRIT-Path collaborative. Lancet Oncology October, 2021 DOI:

    5. SARS-CoV-2 infection and venous thromboembolism after surgery: an international prospective cohort study. Anaestheisa 2021 Aug 24.  doi: 10.1111/anae.15563. COVIDSurg Collaborative

    6. Mortality and pulmonary complications in patients undergoing surgery with perioperative SARS-CoV-2 infection: an international cohort study. COVIDSurg Collaborative. Lancet. 2020 Jul 4;396(10243):27-38. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31182-X

    7. Analysis of head and neck carcinoma progression reveals novel and relevant stage-specific changes associated with immortalisation and malignancy. Sci Rep. 2019 Aug 19;9(1):11992. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-48229-7

    8. HOPON (Hyperbaric Oxygen for the Prevention of Osteoradionecrosis): A Randomized Controlled Trial of Hyperbaric Oxygen to Prevent Osteoradionecrosis of the Irradiated Mandible After Dentoalveolar Surgery. M. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2019 Jul 1;104(3):530-539. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2019.02.044.

    9. HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer in the United Kingdom: an evolution in understanding of disease etiology. Cancer Res. 2016 Aug 28. pii: canres.0633.2016.

    10. A new classification for the mandible defect based on a systematic review of segmental resection and composite microvascular reconstruction. Lancet Oncol. 2016 Jan;17(1):e23-30. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00310-1.

    1. Chief Investigator: NIHR131050 “RAPTOR: Randomised Controlled Trial of PENTOCLO in Mandibular Osteoradionecrosis”  NIHR EME: £1,004,830 Feb 2021

    2. Chief Investigator: NIHR/MRC EME :  “SAVER - Sodium Valproate for Epigenetic Reprogramming in the Management of High Risk Oral Epithelial Dysplasia” £1,069,150, 2019-2022

    3. CRUK 165638: CRUK - Early detection of oral cancer using infrared imaging £430,600 C7738/A26196
Early Detection Committee - Project Award
Early detection of oral cancer using infrared imaging PI P Weightman, R Shaw, J M Risk (Co-applicant)

    4. NIHR RFPB: Research for Patient Benefit Programme: (2016-2019) PentoxIfylline and Tocopherol for the treatment of poST radiotherapy fibrOsis in head and neck cancer Patients: a feasibility study (PIT- STOP) (Co-Investigator) £252,210

    5. Pathos -T: A Bioresource Collection associated with PATHOS, a Phase II/III trial of risk-stratified, reduced intensity adjuvant treatment in patients undergoing transoral surgery for Human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive oropharyngeal cancer. P I Jones T M £397,251

  • Professor Peter Weightman, Department of Physics, University of Liverpool

    Professor Stefano Fedele, Oral Medicine, UCL

    Professor Tas Kanatas, OMFS, University of Leeds

    COVIDSurg collaborative

    NCRI H&N Group

    SPIRIT-Path Collaborative

    European Sentinel Lymph Node in HN Collaborative