David J. Leffell MD

David P. Smith Professor of Dermatology and Professor of Surgery (Otolaryngology and Plastic); Section Chief, Dermatologic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology

Departments & Organizations

Yale Medical Group

Office of Student ResearchCancer Center, Yale: Head and Neck Cancer Surgery Program; Melanoma Program; Cancer Genetics & GenomicsYale Medical Group AdministrationDermatology: Mohs Surgery; Skin Diseases Research Center, Yale | SurgeryCancer Genetics


A graduate of Yale College and the McGill University Faculty of Medicine in Montreal, Leffell completed his residency training in internal medicine at Cornell Cooperating Hospitals and then in dermatology at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He comlpeted an NIH post-dcotoral research fellowship in dermatology at Yale followed by a clinical fellowship in dermatologic surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. Author of the popular book "Total Skin," Leffell is an expert clinician, specializing in skin cancer and melanoma diagnosis and surgical treatment using the Mohs micrographic technique. The Cutaneous Oncology Unit that he founded in 1988 now performs specialized surgical treatment on more than 3,500 patients annually. His major clinical interest is the management of skin cancer, including basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer and melanoma. In 1996 Leffell was a member of the research group that discovered the skin cancer gene known as PTCH. In addition, he has conducted collaborative research clarifying the role of ultraviolet radiation in skin cancer and skin aging. Author of more than 150 publications, Leffell has also done research on epidemiologic aspects of skin cancer and wound healing.


  • B.S., Yale College , 1977
  • M.D., McGill University , 1981

Selected Publication

  • Asplund A, Gustafsson AC, Wikonkal NM, Sela A, Leffell DJ, Kidd K, Lundeberg J. Brash DE, Ponten F: PTCH codon 1315 polymorphism and risk for nonmelanoma skin cancer, British Journal of Medicine, 152(5):868-73, 2005

Latest Honor and Recognition

  • Best Doctors in New York(2013) , Castle and Connolly
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