Ira Mellman, Ph.D. Named Scientific Director of the Yale Cancer Center

Richard L. Edelson, M.D., Director of Yale Cancer Center, has announced the appointment of Ira Mellman as Scientific Director of the Center. Mellman is Sterling Professor of Cell Biology and Immunobiology, and Chair of the Department of Cell Biology at Yale University School of Medicine.

“Ira Mellman brings all of the right ingredients to the critical leadership position of Scientific Director of the Yale Cancer Center,” Edelson said. “His seminal contributions to our understanding of how dendritic antigen presenting cells trigger immune reactions have profound implications for the field of tumor immunotherapy, a major area of interest in the Cancer Center. Dr. Mellman’s demonstrated leadership skills and intricate familiarity with the research community at Yale make him the ideal choice for this position. He will have a central role in the recruitment of additional world class cancer scientists, to complement the extraordinary investigative strengths existing at the Center. In enhancing our cancer research programs, Dr. Mellman will be collaborating closely with two other senior leaders of the Center: Dr. Jose Costa, Deputy Director, and Dr. Edward Chu, Director of Clinical Research.”

Mellman’s research combines cell biology and immunology to understand fundamental mechanisms of antigen processing and presentation by cells. This focus has led him to explore the role of cellular and molecular functions of dendritic cells, and is leading to new strategies for the development of cancer vaccines. His work on epithelial cells is revealing aspects of cell biology directly relevant to metastasis and the development of antibody-based anti-tumor therapies.

Long affiliated with the Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research (LICR), Mellman’s appointment will solidify the existing scientific affiliations between Yale Cancer Center and the LICR, an international organization that utilizes the strength of leading scientists worldwide in a collective fight against cancer. “A partnership between Yale Cancer Center and the LICR will help build a unique, academic-based effort that applies the best of cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, chemistry and biochemistry to directly benefit our patients,” Mellman explained. “Cancer patients coming to Yale will not only be cared for by one of the most skilled and dedicated teams of healthcare professionals, but also by a team of distinguished scientists singularly committed to understanding and devising treatments for their disease.”

Mellman received his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College, his Ph.D. in genetics from Yale University School of Medicine, and trained as a fellow at Rockefeller University before joining the faculty at Yale in 1981. He also served as the Newton Abraham Professor at Oxford University. The recipient of numerous honors, awards, and distinguished lectureships, he has authored more than 160 peer-reviewed articles and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cell Biology. He also serves on the editorial boards of Cell, Journal of Experimental Medicine, and the International Journal of Cancer as well as on the advisory boards of key research institutes and cancer research foundations worldwide.

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