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Daniel C. DiMaio, M.D., Named Scientific Director of Yale Cancer Center


New Haven, Conn. — Yale Cancer Center Director Dr. Richard L. Edelson announced the appointment of Daniel DiMaio, M.D., PhD, to Scientific Director of the Center. In this role, DiMaio will have broad oversight of all basic science research within Yale Cancer Center (YCC).

“Dan brings a wide range of experience to this senior leadership role, which is critical to YCC’s efforts to successfully expand our research initiatives,” Edelson said. “In addition to his own internationally recognized scientific accomplishments, he has shaped our Molecular Virology Program into one which serves as a superb example of first rate interactive science.”

DiMaio is currently the Vice Chairman of the Department of Genetics, the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Genetics, and a Professor of Therapeutic Radiology at Yale School of Medicine (YSM). As part of his new responsibilities, he will chair the YCC Scientific Steering Committee, whose mandate is to recommend expenditures of funds for scientific recruitment and programmatic enhancements. He will also oversee the Basic Science Research Program Division, which includes Gene Regulation & Functional Genomics, Signal Transduction, and Molecular Virology. Additionally, DiMaio will work with YCC members and Program Leaders to ensure maximum cancer research productivity.

After graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Yale College in 1974, DiMaio earned his M.D. and PhD degrees from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, he joined the Yale faculty in 1983 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to full professorship in 1994 and was named the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Genetics in 2003.

DiMaio is the principal investigator of a multi-investigator Program Project Grant, “The Molecular Basis of Viral and Cellular Transformation,” from the National Cancer Institute, and also leads a pre-doctoral training program in virology and a postdoctoral training program in molecular and viral oncology at YSM. In addition, as director of the Molecular Virology Program at YCC since 1993, he oversees the collaborations between 17 independent but interactive laboratories with common interests in the basic molecular biology and immunology of viruses that are relevant to cancer and related topics. By gaining insights into the molecular biology of carcinogenesis and cell growth, the researchers hope to develop new approaches for treating cancer and other diseases.

DiMaio and is laboratory study papillomaviruses, which are an important cause of human cancers, particularly in women. His laboratory showed that the expression of human papillomavirus oncogenes is continuously required for maintenance of the malignant state of cervical carcinoma cells, validating these viral gene prodeucts as targets for therapy. He also discovered the mechanism of action of the E5 transforming protein of bovine papillomavirus, and is using the E5 protein as the basis to develop novel approaches to modulate the growth of cells and viruses. Finally, by manipulating the expression of viral genes in cancer cells, he has developed a new system to study cellular senescence, an important tumor suppressor mechanism and model of cell aging.

The author of numerous scientific papers, DiMaio co-edited a book entitled, “The Papillomaviruses,” which was published this year. DiMaio was a senior editor of the Journal of Virology, the premier journal in the field, for 10 years. He also served on the editorial board of the journal Virology and on a variety of review and advisory panels. His honors include a Swebilius Cancer Research Award and an NIH MERIT Award, and he was the first recipient of the Mallinckrodt Scholar Award. DiMaio also chaired the DNA Virus Division of the American Society for Microbiology and has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2001, he received the Outstanding Mentor Award in the Natural Sciences from the Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

YCC is one of a select network of 39 comprehensive cancer centers in the country designated by the National Cancer Institute and the only one in Southern New England. The Center harnesses the scientific resources of Yale University School of Medicine, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and Yale University. Led by Dr. Richard L. Edelson, a leader in cancer immunotherapy, Yale Cancer Center focuses on translational research, an approach which laboratory discoveries are quickly and efficiently integrated with clinical patient care. For more information visit


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