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Joseph N. Contessa, MD, PhD

Therapeutic Radiology
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Patient type treated
Accepting new patients
Referral required
From patients or physicians
Board Certified in
Radiation Oncology


Joseph N. Contessa, MD, PhD, a radiation oncologist, is the director of Yale Medicine’s Central Nervous System Radiotherapy Program. He specializes in treating patients with primary tumors of the brain, head and neck, and at the base of the skull.  

“Due to Yale's large referral base, I frequently see relatively rare tumors,” he says, including low-grade and malignant gliomas, ependymomas, high-grade meningiomas, hemangiopericytomas, paragangliomas, and schwannomas. His expertise in treating uncommon cancers benefits patients diagnosed with these tumor types. “I look forward to helping patients have the best possible outcome when they are faced with a challenging diagnosis,” he says.

Dr. Contessa is also an associate professor of therapeutic radiology and of pharmacology at Yale School of Medicine where he is part of a team of physicians and scientists who are actively researching the cellular mechanisms that tumors use to evade or “outsmart” standard cancer therapies in hopes of identifying new approaches that improve treatment.

“We are all working together to increase our knowledge, improve our care and beat cancer,” Dr. Contessa says.


  • Professor of Therapeutic Radiology and of Pharmacology
  • Co-Leader, Radiobiology and Radiotherapy, Yale Cancer Center
  • Vice Chair for Basic Science Research, Therapeutic Radiology
  • Chief, Central Nervous System Radiotherapy Program, Therapeutic Radiology

Education & Training

  • Resident
    The University of Michigan (2009)
  • Intern
    The University of Michigan (2005)
  • PhD
    Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth Universit (2004)
  • MD
    Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth Universit (2004)

Additional Information

  • Yale Therapeutic Radiology
    Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven
    35 Park Street, Ste Lower Level
    New Haven, CT, 06511