Joseph N. Contessa, MD, PhD
Photo: Joseph Contessa



203 737 5120



Elected 2021

Joseph Contessa is a physician-scientist and radiation oncologist at Yale University. He received an MD and PhD in Pharmacology from the Medical College of Virginia and completed residency training at the University of Michigan. At Yale he is currently Professor and Vice Chair for basic science research in the department of Therapeutic Radiology and the Director of central nervous system (CNS) radiation therapy. He has an active practice treating patients with brain and base of skull tumors, and also sees patients with head and neck cancers. His work with multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary teams of physicians has explored outcomes for patients with brain metastases, and identified approaches to personalize and guide optimal delivery of radiation therapy. He also leads the Yale Cancer Center’s Radiobiology and Radiotherapy Research Program, a group of physicians and scientists that seeks to advance basic and clinical research to improve the care of cancer patients. Dr. Contessa’s laboratory studies mechanisms of tumor cell adaptive responses to cancer therapy and the role of RTK signaling in evasion of radiation-induced cell death. His laboratory leads high throughput genetic screening efforts to understand tumor cell radiation responses and to advance therapeutic target discovery. They have also developed platforms for small molecule screening in cancer models, identifying first in class inhibitors that disrupt N-linked glycosylation by targeting the oligosaccharyltransferase. Dr. Contessa has served on educational and oversight committees for the NIH, NCI, ASTRO, RSNA, ACS, and AACR and has trained numerous students, residents, and post-doctoral fellows. He looks forward to new opportunities for building scientific teams and for mentoring and training the next generation of physicians and scientists.