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William Sessa, PhD

Alfred Gilman Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology

Contact Information

William Sessa, PhD

Mailing Address

  • Pharmacology

    PO Box 208066, 333 Cedar Street

    New Haven, CT 06520-8066

    United States



Dr. William C. Sessa is the Alfred Gilman Professor and Vice Chairman in the Department of Pharmacology and Director of the Vascular Biology & Therapeutics Program at Yale School of Medicine. His work defined the molecular aspects and physiological implications of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activation and has contributed towards the elucidation of how nitric oxide (NO) regulates angiogenesis, vascular permeability, atherosclerosis and vascular remodeling. He cloned eNOS as a post-doc and subsequently identified eNOS subcellular trafficking, post-translational lipidation, phosphorylation and regulated protein-protein interactions as mechanisms to regulate NO production and cardiovascular homeostasis. In addition to work on eNOS, he has made several additional important contributions emanating from his work on eNOS including elucidating the role of caveolae microdomains of the plasma membrane in signaling, defining the role of Akt as an important kinase regulating the morphogenic and survival pathway for angiogenic growth factors, and the identification of the enzyme required for dolichol synthesis in mammalian cells. This latter pathway is an evolutionarily conserved pathway for all protein N-glycosylation reactions in the endoplasmic reticulum and loss of functions mutations arising in this enzyme can cause a congenital disorder of glycosylation, pediatric epilepsy and movement disorders. He has trained many graduate students, mentored several clinical scientists and over 40 post-doctoral fellows, most of which are in leadership positions in academia.

Education & Training

  • Post-doctoral fellow
    Pharmacology, The University of Virginia Health Sciences Center (1993)
  • Post-doctoral fellow/Senior Scientist
    The William Harvey Research Institute (1991)
  • PhD
    New York Medical College (1989)


  • International Scientific Board
    London, England, United Kingdom (2012-2017)
    Dr. Sessa is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board to the William Harvey Research Institute [WHRI] and the NIHR Biomedical Research Unit [BRU] in London.
  • YALE-UCL Collaborative
    London, England, United Kingdom 2011
    Dr. Sessa is on the Joint Strategy Committee for the Yale-UCL Collaborative, an alliance which will provide opportunities for high-level scientific research, clinical and educational collaboration across the institutions involved: Yale University, Yale School of Medicine, Yale-New Haven Hospital and UCL (University College London) and UCL Partners.
  • Cardiovascular Research
    United Kingdom 2011
    Yale-Cambridge Program in Cardiovascular Research that focuses on arteriosclerosis, angiogenisis, vascular injury, and transplantation.

Departments & Organizations