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David F. Stern, PhD

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Professor of Pathology


Vice Chair for Basic and Translational Sciences, Pathology; Associate Cancer Center Director, Shared Resources



Professor of Pathology

Vice Chair for Basic and Translational Sciences, Pathology; Associate Cancer Center Director, Shared Resources


Dr. Stern earned a BS in Biology at MIT in 1976. He received a PhD in Biology in 1983 at University of California, San Diego, and the Salk Institute with S.I.T. Kennedy and Bart Sefton for dissertation research that elucidated the coronavirus lytic cycle. Dr. Stern returned to R.A. Weinberg’s lab at the MIT Cancer Center and Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in 1983. There, Dr. Stern’s postdoctoral work pioneered analysis of neu/ErbB2/HER2, an important human oncogene. As a Yale Pathology faculty member since 1988, Dr. Stern’s research has focused on the roles of eleven growth factors and four receptors of the EGF family in malignant transformation, especially in breast cancer, and he has also made significant contributions to the understanding of DNA damage response signaling pathways. Dr. Stern’s current work in breast cancer and melanoma includes developing approaches to countering rapid resistance to anti-cancer agents that target cancer signaling pathways. Dr. Stern is active in cancer training at Yale and in the Yale Cancer Center scientific leadership. He is Associate Director of Shared Resources at Yale Cancer Center.


Education & Training

Postdoctoral Fellow
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at Mass. Institute of Technology (1988)
University of California, San Diego (1983)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Biology (1976)



1. The receptor tyrosine kinase ErbB2/HER2 drives 25% of breast cancers. This receptor is the target for two drugs in use for breast cancer treatment, Herceptin/Trastuzumab and Tykerb/Lapatinib. In order to understand why this receptor is so important in human cancer, and to improve therapeutic targeting of ErbB2/HER2, we investigate normal and pathological functions of this receptor in mammary tissue. Our work spans from fundamental studies on signal transduction to analysis of ERBB2 in human cancer. ERBB2 works in close partnership with other members of the EGF receptor (ERBB family) of tyrosine kinases, so we also study differential signaling by the three related receptors (EGF receptor [HER]), ERBB3 [HER3], ErbB4[HER4).

2. The growing availability of cancer drugs that target receptors and other signaling proteins has created a need to develop integrated methods for best matching of patients to the appropriate target drugs. We are investigating use of DNA-based and functional approaches for predicting response to targeted therapies, in breast cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and melanoma.

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Breast Neoplasms; DNA Damage; Melanoma; Neoplasms; Pathology; Signal Transduction

Research at a Glance

Yale Co-Authors

Frequent collaborators of David F. Stern's published research.


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