Joseph N. Contessa, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Therapeutic Radiology and of Pharmacology; Director, Central Nervous System Radiotherapy Program

Departments & Organizations

Therapeutic Radiology: Central Nervous System Radiotherapy | Head & Neck Radiotherapy | Radiobiology | Spine Radiosurgery

Brain Tumor Program

Discovery to Cure Internship

Gamma Knife Center

Secondary Faculty

Yale Cancer Center: Brain Tumor Program | Head and Neck Cancers Program | Radiobiology & Radiotherapy

Yale Medicine

Office of Cooperative Research


Joseph N. Contessa, MD, PhD, a radiation oncologist, is the director of Yale Medicine’s Central Nervous System Radiotherapy Program. He specializes in treating patients with primary tumors of the brain, head and neck, and at the base of the skull.  


“Due to Yale's large referral base, I frequently see relatively rare tumors,” he says, including low-grade and malignant gliomas, ependymomas, high-grade meningiomas, hemangiopericytomas, paragangliomas, and schwannomas. His expertise in treating uncommon cancers benefits patients diagnosed with these tumor types.  “I look forward to helping patients have the best possible outcome when they are faced with a challenging diagnosis,” he says.


Dr. Contessa is also an associate professor of therapeutic radiology and of pharmacology at Yale School of Medicine where he is part of a team of physicians and scientists who are actively researching the cellular mechanisms that tumors use to evade or “outsmart” standard cancer therapies in hopes of identifying new approaches that improve treatment.


“We are all working together to increase our knowledge, improve our care and beat cancer,” Dr. Contessa says. 

Education & Training

PhD Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth Universit (2004)
MD Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth Universit (2004)
Resident The University of Michigan
Intern The University of Michigan
Board Certification AB of Radiology, Radiation Oncology (2011)

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Contact Info

Joseph N. Contessa, MD, PhD
Patient Care Location
Yale Therapeutic RadiologySmilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven
35 Park Street, Ste Lower Level

New Haven, CT 06511
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Office Location
Yale Therapeutic RadiologyHunter Building
15 York Street, Ste HRT 139

New Haven, CT 06510
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Mailing Address
Therapeutic RadiologyPO Box 208040
New Haven, CT 06520-8040