Sara Rockwell PhD, FASTRO

Professor Emeritus of Therapeutic Radiology and Professor of Pharmacology; Associate Dean for Scientific Affairs

Departments & Organizations

Program for Biomedical EthicsPharmacologyTherapeutic Radiology/Radiation Oncology: Radiobiology


Sara Rockwell received her B.S. in Physics in from Penn State in 1965 and her Ph.D. in Biophysics from Stanford in 1971. She received postdoctoral training as a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University and as an Attache de Recherche at the Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France. In 1974 she joined the faculty of the Yale University School of Medicine and is now Professor of Therapeutic Radiology and Pharmacology. Professor Rockwell teaches radiation biology, pharmacology, cancer biology, ethics, and career development skills in several Yale courses and lecture series. Her laboratory research focuses on studying the unphysiological microenvironments of cells within solid tumors, with the goal of improving the treatment of cancer. She was among the first researchers to study the effects of hypoxia on the response of malignant cells in culture and solid tumors in vivo to radiation, anticancer drugs, and combined modality therapy and among the first to consider the implications of the hypoxia found in microscopic tumors for the development and evolution of solid malignancies. The results of this research have been published in over 200 scientific publications and presented in over 250 papers at national and international scientific meetings. Professor Rockwell has received numerous awards for her educational and research activities, including election to membership in the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering and selection as a Fellow of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

Professor Rockwell has served on advisory panels for the NIH, DOD, NASA, OSTP and other governmental agencies, the American Cancer Society, other voluntary health organizations, and several universities. She served a two-year term as chair of the NCI Initial Review Group for Clinical Research Studies. She is an active member of several professional societies and has served on the editorial boards of five scientific journals. She currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Radiation Research, the official journal of the Radiation Research Society and the preeminent multidisciplinary journal in the radiation sciences.

Dr. Rockwell also serves as the Associate Dean for Scientific Affairs for the Yale School of Medicine. She directs the Evaluation Program for the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (Yale’s CTSA), serves on the executive committee of the YCCI, and represents the YCCI on several committees of the national CTSA network. She is also the Medical School’s representative to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Research and Development. In addition, she serves as Yale University’s designated Faculty Representative to the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) and recently completed a term as the chair of the FDP faculty committee and vice chair of the FDP.


  • B.S., Penn State University , 1961-1965
  • Ph.D., Stanford University , 1971

Selected Publication

  • Rockwell S. Tumor cell survival. In Tumor Models in Cancer Research, 2nd Ed. (B. Teicher, Ed.), 2010.

Latest Honor and Recognition

  • Distinguished Alumna(2011) , The Pennsylvania State University