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Michael Girardi, MD, FAAD

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Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Scientific Innovation. Evans Professor of Dermatology


Director, Residency Program, Dermatology; Co-Director, T32 Research Fellowship Program, Dermatology

Contact Info


PO Box 208059, 333 Cedar Street

New Haven, CT 06520-8059

United States



Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Scientific Innovation. Evans Professor of Dermatology

Director, Residency Program, Dermatology; Co-Director, T32 Research Fellowship Program, Dermatology


Clinical Expertise: Dr. Girardi is Co-Director of the Yale Cutaneous Lymphoma Group, Director of the Photopheresis Unit, and Director of the Phototherapy Unit at the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center and Yale-New Haven Hospital. Dr. Girardi is also an active member of the national and international organizations (United States Cutaneous Lymphoma Consortium, International Society of Cutaneous Lymphoma) that formulate and publish the criteria guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment CTCL, and is executing the largest clinical database for CTCL. He has published over 150 scientific manuscripts, clinical reports, and book chapters, including on the genetic basis of CTCL and a Medical Progress Report for the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Girardi was awarded the 2023 Yale Blavatnik Innovation Award for the development of new treatments for T cell lymphoma and the 2017 Zeligman Award by Johns Hopkins University for his expertise in understanding the genetic and immunologic mechanisms that cause CTCL, and he has delivered over 100 national and international lectures including at the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Moffitt Cancer Center, Kings College London, and Northwestern University. Dr. Girardi is currently Professor, Vice Chair, and NIH T32 Research Fellowship Co-Director for the Department of Dermatology, Yale School of Medicine.

Disease Interests: the diagnosis and management of cutaneous lymphoma and related conditions, including: mycosis fungoides (MF) cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL) [variants of which include folliculotropic MF, follicular mucinosis MF, hypopigmented (hypomelanotic) MF, pagetoid reticulosis (Woringer-Kolopp disease), erythrodermic MF, tumor-stage (T3) MF, transformed MF (T-MF), large cell transformation MF (LCT-MF), and Sézary syndrome (SS)]; CD30+ lymphoproliferative disorders (CD30+ LPD) including lymphomatoid papulosis (LyP) and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL); CD4+ small/medium/pleomorphic T cell lymphoma (CD4+ SMPTCL); cutaneous B cell lymphoma (CBCL) [variants of which include primary cutaneous marginal zone B cell lymphoma (PCMZBCL) and primary cutaneous follicle center B cell lymphoma (PCFLBCL); lymphocytoma cutis (pseudolymphoma); parapsorias (including large plaque and small plaque variants); subcutaneous panniculitic T cell lymphoma (SCPTCL); cutaneous CD8+ cytotoxic T cell lymphoma; cutaneous gamma-delta T cell lymphoma; and cutaneous NK/T cell lymphoma. Laboratory Research: During more than 20 years leading an NCI-funded research program at Yale, Dr. Girardi’s laboratory is credited with major contributions to our understanding of skin biology immunology and skin cancer development, including the elucidation of roles for gamma-delta T cells, NKG2D ligands, Langerhans cells, and innate lymphoid cells. Dr. Girardi has served as the Co-Director for the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Immunology and Immunotherapy Program, and is the holder/filer of 10+ biomedical patents on cancer diagnosis and treatment and co-founder of two Yale startup companies: Stradefy Biosciences and Devana Bio. Dr. Girardi's work has been published in Science (x2), J Exp Med (x3), Nature, Nature Immunology (x4), Nature Genetics (x2), Nature Materials, PNAS (x4), and Blood (x4) – with a Google Scholar Profile of h-index 45+, i10-index 100+, 10,000+ citations. Watch a video with Dr. Michael Girardi >>

Dr. Girardi’s current research programs include:

  • The role of local immune cells in the development of cutaneous carcinogenesis. Using state-of-the-art genetically engineered mice, immunobiology techniques, and confocal imaging, the Girardi laboratory is dissecting how various immune cells, resident within and recruited to the skin, contribute the skin cancer development.
  • Novel approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL). Overseeing one of the largest centers for CTCL, Dr. Girardi and colleagues use genetic sequencing and robotic transfer to enhance diagnosis and to screen and develop new pharmaceutical agents in the treatment of this malignancy, and is engineer new small molecules and immunotherapeutics for T cell
  • Biodegradable nanotechnology in the prevention and treatment of skin cancer. In collaboration with W.M. Saltzman (Professor, Yale Biomedical Engineering) and Douglas Brash (Professor, Genetics), Dr. Girardi’s lab is developing novel strategies for skin cancer prevention and treatment.


Other Departments & Organizations

Education & Training

Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT (1997)
Research Fellow
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT (1997)
Research Fellow
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT (1994)
Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT (1993)
Yale University (1992)
Brown University, Biology & Computer Science (1988)



Dr. Girardi’s current research projects include:

1. Identification of genetic drivers of CTCL. Dr. Girardi's lab provided the most comprehensive description of gene copy number alterations in CTCL [J Invest Dermatol, 2012], and then more fully elucidated the genetic drivers of CTCL [Nature Genetics, 2015]. This is now part of an integrated data resource [J Invest Dermatol, 2018]. Dr. Girardi's lab also developed the first cytogenetics panel for CTCL [J Invest Dermatol, 2017], now implemented by Yale Clinical Genetics, and identified precancerous cells in the circulation of CTCL patients using dual single-cell RNA/TCR seq [Blood Adv., 2023].

A. Lin WM, Lewis JM, Filler RB…Dummer T, Berger CL, Edelson RL, Girardi M. (2012). Characterization of the DNA copy-number genome in the blood of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma patients. J Invest Dermatol. 132(1):188-197. PMCID: PMC3841973

B. Choi J, Goh G, Walradt T…Girardi M & Lifton RP. (2015). Genomic landscape of cutaneous T cell lymphoma. Nat Genet. 47(9):1011-9. PMCID: PMC4552614

C. Weed J, Gibson J, Lewis J, Carlson K, Foss F, Choi J, Li P, Girardi M. (2017). FISH panel for leukemic CTCL. J Invest Dermatol. 137(3):751-753. PMCID: PMC5419071

D. Ren J, Qu R, Rahman NT, Lewis JM, King ALO, Liao X, Mirza FN, Carlson KR, Huang Y, Gigante S, Evans B, Rajendran BK, Xu S, Wang G, Foss FM, Damsky W, Kluger Y, Krishnaswamy S, Girardi M. Integrated transcriptome and trajectory analysis of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma identifies putative precancer populations. Blood Adv. 2023;7(3):445-457. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2022008168. PMID: 35947128

    2. Innovation for the management and treatment of CTCL. Dr. Girardi's lab developed modified criteria for use of Vbeta panel flow cytometry diagnosis of CTCL [J Amer Acad Dermatol, 2016] now implemented by YNHH Flow Cytometry. His lab characterized BCL2 [Blood, 2015], BET [Oncotarget, 2018], JAK [Blood Adv, 2020], and proteosome [J Invest Dermatol, 2023] targeting activity against CTCL, and their defined their synergy with established anti-CTCL agents. Dr. Girardi's lab's current collaborative research efforts in this area include drug design using synergistic chemistry where single agents are developed with dual targeting and synergistic drug combinations for the treatment of advanced stage CTCL.

    A. Cyrenne BM, Lewis JM, Weed JG, Carlson KR, Mirza FN, Foss FM, Girardi M. (2017). Synergy of BCL2 and histone deacetylase inhibition against leukemic cells from cutaneous T-cell lymphoma patients. Blood. 130(19):2073-2083. PMCID: PMC5680613

    B. Kim SR, Lewis JM, Cyrenne BM, Mirza FN, Carlson KR, Foss FM, Girardi M. (2018). BET inhibition in advanced cutaneous T cell lymphoma is synergistically potentiated by BCL2 inhibition or HDAC inhibition. Oncotarget. 9(49):29193-29207. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.25670. PMCID: PMC6044378

    C. Yumeen S, Mirza FN, Lewis JM, King ALO, Kim SR, Carlson KR, Umlauf SR, Surovtseva YV, Foss FM, Girardi M. (2020) JAK inhibition synergistically potentiates BCL2, BET, HDAC, and proteasome inhibition in advanced CTCL. Blood Adv. 4(10):2213-2226. PMCID: PMC7252559

    D. Xu S, Ren J, Lewis JM, Carlson KR, Girardi M. Proteasome inhibitors interact synergistically with BCL2, histone deacetylase, BET, and Jak inhibitors against cutaneous T-cell lymphoma cells. J Invest Dermatol. 2023 Jan 13:S0022-202X(23)00011-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2022.12.017. Online ahead of print. PMID: 36642402

      3. Novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of skin cancer. In collaboration with W. M. Saltzman, PhD, Dr. Girardi's lab developed a novel drug delivery system of bioadhesive biodegradable nanoparticles to prevent skin cancer [Nature Materials, 2015; Bioeng Transl Med, 2018], and improve the local delivery of chemotherapeutic and immunostimulatory agents to skin cancers [PNAS, 2021]. His current collaborative research efforts in this area include novel site-directed therapeutics for BCC and peritoneal carcinomatosis / ovarian cancer (with W.M. Saltzman, via Yale start-up Stradefy Biosciences).

      A. Deng Y, Ediriwickrema A, Yang F, Lewis J, Girardi M & Saltzman WM. (2015). A sunblock based on bioadhesive nanoparticles. Nat Mater.14(12):1278-85. doi: 10.1038/nmat4422. Epub 2015 Sep 28. PMCID: PMC4654636

      B. Suh HW, Lewis J, Fong L, Ramseier JY, Carlson K, Peng ZH, Yin ES, Saltzman WM & Girardi M. (2018). Biodegradable bioadhesive nanoparticle incorporation of broad-spectrum organic sunscreen agents. Bioeng Transl Med. 4(1):129-140. doi: 10.1002/btm2.10092. PMCID: PMC6336670

      C. Hu JK, Suh H-W, Qureshi M, Lewis JM, Yaquoob S, Moscato ZM, Griff S, Lee AK, Yin ES, Saltzman WM & Girardi M. (2021). Nonsurgical treatment of skin cancer with local delivery of bioadhesive nanoparticles. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2020575118. PMID: 33526595

      D. Mai Y, Ouyang Y, Yu M, Qin Y, Girardi M, Saltzman WM, …Deng Y. Topical formulation based on disease-specific nanoparticles for single-dose cure of psoriasis. J Control Release. 2022 Jul 12;349:354-366. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2022.07.006. PMID: 35817278

      4. Elucidation of Langerhans cells (LC) role in skin homeostasis and carcinogenesis. Dr. Girardi's lab defined major roles for local immune cells in the regulation of the cutaneous stress response fundamental to carcinogenesis [Nat Immunol, 2006]. Dr. Girardi's lab established a paradigm for resident immune influences on mutagenesis within epithelial tissues [Science, 2012], while revealing that LC exert major influences in facilitating mutagenesis and tumor promotion [J Invest Dermatol, 2015; PNAS, 2021]. Dr. Girardi's current collaborative research efforts in this area include novel strategies for the inhibition of tumor promotion using topical RORgt inhibitors and miRNA target-based oligonucleotides (with Jeff Bender, MD, Yale Immunobiology).

      A. Strid J, Roberts SJ, Filler RB, Lewis JM, Kwon, BY, Schpero W, Kaplan DH, Hayday AC, Girardi M. (2008). Acute upregulation of an NKG2D ligand promotes rapid reorganization of a local immune compartment with pleiotropic effects on carcinogenesis. Nat Immunol. Feb;9(2):146-154. doi: 10.1038/ni1556. PMID: 18176566

      B. Modi BG, Neustadter J, Binda E, Lewis J, Filler RB, Roberts SJ, Kwong BY, Reddy S, Overton JD, Galan A, Tigelaar RE, Cai L, Fu P, Shlomchik M, Kaplan DH, Hayday A, Girardi M. (2012). Langerhans cells facilitate epithelial DNA damage and squamous cell carcinoma. Science. 335(6064):104-108. PMCID: PMC3753811

      C. Lewis JM, Bürgler CD, Fraser JA, Liao H, Golubets K, Kucher CL, Zhao PY, Filler RB, Tigelaar RE, Girardi M. (2015). Mechanisms of chemical cooperative carcinogenesis by epidermal Langerhans cells. J Invest Dermatol. 135(5):1405-1414. PMCID: PMC4364923

      D. Lewis JM, Mirza FN, Xu S, Yumeen S, Turban JL, Galan A, Girardi M. (2021). Chronic UV radiation-induced RORγt+ IL-22-producing lymphoid cells are associated with mutant KC clonal expansion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Sep 14;118(37):e2016963118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2016963118. PMID: 34504008

        5. alpha-beta and gamma-delta T cell regulation of inflammation and tumor promotion. Dr. Girardi and colleagues were the first to demonstrate the critical contribution of gd T cells to the regulation of cutaneous malignancy [Science, 2001; J Exp Med, 2003a], while elucidating the differential contributions of gd and ab T cells [PNAS, 2007; J Exp Med, 2003b].

        A. Girardi M, Oppenheim DE, Steel CR, Lewis JM, Glusac E, Filler R, Hobby P, Sutton B, Tigelaar RE, Hayday AC. (2001). Regulation of cutaneous malignancy by gd T cells. Science. 294(5542):605-609. doi: 10.1126/science.1063916. PMID: 11567106

        B. Girardi M, Lewis J, Glusac E, Filler RB, Geng L, Hayday AC, Tigelaar RE. (2002). Resident skin-specific gamma/delta T cells provide local, nonredundant regulation of cutaneous inflammation. J Exp Med. 195(7):855-67. doi: 10.1084/jem.20012000. PMCID: PMC2193718

        C. Girardi M, Glusac E, Filler RB, Roberts SJ, Propperova I, Lewis JM, Tigelaar RE, Hayday AC. (2003). The distinct contributions of murine TCRgd+ and TCRab+ T cells to different stages of chemically induced skin cancer. J Exp Med. 198(5):747-755. PMCID: PMC2194182

        D. Roberts SJ, Ng BY, Filler RB, Lewis J, Glusac EJ, Hayday AC, Tigelaar RE, Girardi M. (2007). Characterizing tumor-promoting T cells in chemically induced cutaneous carcinogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 104(16):6770-6775. PMCID: PMC1871860

        Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

        Carcinogenesis; Dermatology; DNA; Graft vs Host Disease; Immune System; Internship and Residency; Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous; Skin Neoplasms

        Research at a Glance

        Yale Co-Authors

        Frequent collaborators of Michael Girardi's published research.




        Clinical Trials

        Current Trials

        Academic Achievements and Community Involvement

        • honor

          Elected to the Association of American Physicians (AAP)

        • honor

          Yale Innovation Blavatnik Award

        • honor

          Castle Connolly's Top Doctors Award

        • honor

          The R. S. Evans Endowed Professorship

        • honor

          Catalyst Award for Cutaneous Lymphoma Research

        Clinical Care


        Michael Girardi, MD, is the director of Yale Medicine Dermatology’s ECP (Photopheresis) Immunotherapy Program, which is internationally recognized for developing the immunotherapy treatment photopheresis for advanced cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, graft-versus host disease, and organ transplant rejection.

        “What I strive to do in the clinic and in the lab is to use technology to relieve suffering and help people who sometimes feel hopeless,” Dr. Girardi says.

        A professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Girardi studies skin cancer and skin lymphoma and has received multiple innovation awards as a developer of new treatments for both cancer types. “I hope these technologies will one day make cancer treatments safer and more effective,” Dr. Girardi says.

        Impacting skin cancer is important to Dr. Girardi on a personal level, too, after losing a family member to malignant melanoma as a child. “There is no doubt that the experience has stayed with me and has motivated me to help cancer patients in multiple ways,” he says.

        “Ultimately, having a positive effect on patients' lives is what matters the most to me.”

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        PO Box 208059, 333 Cedar Street

        New Haven, CT 06520-8059

        United States


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