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Jose Costa, MD, FACP

Professor Emeritus of Pathology and Senior Research Scientist



José Costa, MD, FACP, is Professor Emeritus of Pathology at Yale University School of Medicine and Professeur Honoraire at the University of Lausanne Switzerland. Dr. Costa is an internationally renowned leader in the field of diagnostics of cancer and pathogenesis of tumor formation. Having contributed to the transition from opinion-based medicine to evidence-based diagnosis, he is now making use of novel tools to practice integrative systems pathology, an approach that strives to enable a personalized, predictive and precise diagnosis.

Prior his transition to Emeritus status April 1, 2018, at the Yale School of Medicine, Dr Costa served in several positions of leadership that include: Chief of the Anatomical Pathology Branch at the Clinical Center, NIH Bethesda Md (1980-83); Director of the Institute of Pathology, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland (1983-1993); President of the Board of Directors of the Centre Pluridisciplinaire d’Oncologie, Lausanne Switzerland (1985-1992); Director of Anatomical Pathology Yale New Haven Hospital (1993-2007); and Deputy Director of the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center (1995-2007). He is a sought-after advisor to several academic, research, and health organizations, and has served or currently serves as board member or advisor to several institutions including the ISREC (Swiss Cancer Research Institut); the Ludwig Institut Branch in Lausanne; the Deutsche Krebs Forschung Zenter (Heidelberg); the Institut of Molecular Pathology at Porto (Portugal); The Catalan Institut of Oncology [ICO] Barcelona, Spain; the Centro Nacional de Investigacion en Oncologia [CNIO] Madrid,Spain, the Instituto Carlos III, Madrid, Spain, the Center for Virtual Tumor Modeling (Harvard); the NIH Consensus Panels and the NCI’s EDRN in Bethesda, MD, USA.

Throughout his career, Dr. Costa has integrated advances in basic understanding of cancer to the clinical area of diagnosis, prognosis, and early detection. He has contributed over 170 original publications to the technical literature, and is among a small group of investigators using evolutionary and ecological theory to predict tumor behavior. His laboratory investigates the micro-evolutionary dynamics involved in tumor formation and tumor progression using both experimental and theoretical modeling at the systems level. This work has identified novel and promising ways to detect early cancer and ways to follow the changes in tumors under therapy. Dr. Costa is co-inventor of two novel diagnostic technologies and has served in the oversight board of Yale’s Office of Cooperative Research. He has also been involved in the crafting of public-private joint ventures in Switzerland (IP-AMS Labs [1999]), the early launching of Curagen Corporation (New Haven, CT [1996]), the founding of Aureon Biosciences (Yonkers, NY [2001]), VCN (Barcelona, Spain [2005]), and PetaOmics (San Marcos, TX [2014]).

The contributions of Dr. Costa have been recognized by several awards, including a Special Achievement Award from NIH, election as a Fellow to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2003), the Gold Medal of the International Academy of Pathology. and the Trueta Medal from the Catalan government for contributions to public health.

A firm believer in the dynamics coming from multi-disciplinarity and cooperation, Dr. Costa continues to create an environment that will transform health care and set the standards for the 21st century. He is particularly interested in exploring synergies between academia, private industry, and governmental programs.

Education & Training

  • Senior Staff Fellow
    Laboratory of Pathology, NCI (1975)
  • Visiting fellow
    Laboratory of Pathology, Fogarty International Foundation, NCI (1974)
  • Resident
    Washington Univ School of Medicine (1973)
  • Resident
    University of Colorado Medical Center (1972)
  • MD
    University of Barcelona (1967)
  • Fellow
    National Institute of Health
  • Fellow
    National Institute of Health


  • Board Certification
    AB of Pathology, Anatomic Pathology (1974)

Departments & Organizations