Dr. David Leffell Appointed to Paige Smith Chair

Dr. David J. Leffell, newly designated as the David Paige Smith Professor of Dermatology, is a renowned specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma and other skin cancers and in surgical treatment using the Mohs micrographic technique.

His clinical specialties also include plastic reconstruction. His research focuses on the molecular biology of basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, wound healing and cancer epidemiology. Leffell and his colleagues discovered the skin cancer gene, PTCH, in 1996 and have directed subsequent research towards understanding how skin cancer develops. He has also conducted collaborative research clarifying the role of ultraviolet radiation in skin cancer and skin aging. Other research includes studies of the p53 gene in skin cancer and innovative diagnostic devices.

Leffell, who is chief executive officer of the Yale Medical Group, has served as deputy dean for clinical affairs at the School of Medicine since 2005. The Cutaneous Oncology Unit that he founded in 1988 performs specialized surgical treatment on more than 3,000 patients annually. He is the author of the book “Total Skin” and of the text “Manual of Dermatologic Surgery,” along with over 100 published articles. He is also on the editorial board of the dermatology text “Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine.”

A graduate of Yale College in 1977, Leffell earned his M.D. from McGill University Faculty of Medicine in Montreal. He completed his residency training in internal medicine at Cornell Cooperating Hospitals and then in dermatology at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He did a clinical research fellowship in dermatology at Yale followed by a clinical fellowship in dermatologic surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. He began his Yale career in 1988 when he was appointed to the faculty at the medical school. He became a full professor of dermatology and surgery (plastic and otolaryngology) in 1998.

As deputy dean of the medical school, Leffell has been responsible for the growth and development of the school’s clinical practice.

Leffell is included in the Castle and Connolly listing of Best Doctors in America, Best Cancer Doctors in America and Best Doctors in New York; has named by Men’s Health Magazine as one of the Best Doctors for Men in the Northeast; and by Connecticut Magazine as one of the Best Doctors in Connecticut.

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