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Aaron Vassall, MD

Associate Research Scientist

Contact Information

Aaron Vassall, MD


After earning his degree in Molecular Biotechnology from Arizona State University, Aaron Vassall joined the NIH Intramural Training Award (IRTA) Program where he began his research training in cancer immunology under the mentorship of Dr. Ira Pastan in the Molecular Biology and Clinical Immunotherapy Sections at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Following his three-year tenure at the NCI, he pursued his medical education, obtaining his MD from the Yale School of Medicine in 2016. During this period, he completed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Medical Research Fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Edelson, earning the Yale David and Harriet Seligson Thesis Prize for his initial work on Physiological Dendritic Cell (phDC) immunotherapy.

Subsequently, he received his clinical training in Internal Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine before returning to Dr. Edelson's lab as a member of the Yale research faculty since 2019.

His research accomplishments have centered around solving the process for reliably producing functional phDC in the laboratory and the development of key pre-clinical models that established the mechanistic underpinnings of how monocyte-platelet engagement leads to phDC generation, and downstream anti-cancer immune responses. This has included the development of a scalable mouse-to-human device that remains the cornerstone methodology for generating phDC to date.

His research continues as a key member of the pioneering "CUREIT" team that secured the inaugural ARPA-H grant as part of the United States' Cancer Moonshot initiative. His current efforts are dedicated to advancing the continued development and translation of phDC as an important adjunct to modern immunotherapy.

Education & Training

  • Internal Medicine Residency
    Yale-New Haven Hospital (2019)
  • MD
    Yale School of Medicine (2016)
  • Medical Research Fellow
    Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2015)
  • IRTA Research Fellow
    National Institutes of Health (2011)
  • BS
    Arizona State University, Molecular Bioscience and Biotechnology (2008)

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
David Harriet Seligson Thesis Prize Yale School of Medicine2016
American College of Physicians Internal Medicine AwardYale School of Medicine2016
Yale Farr Scholar AwardYale School of Medicine2015
Howard Hughes Medical Research Fellowship AwardHoward Hughes Medical Institute 2014
The Moeur Award (Highest Academic Standing)Arizona State University2008