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David Yu, MD, PhD

David YuName:

David Yu, MD, PhD


Undergrad Institution; Degree and Major:

Stanford University - Bachelor of Science in Biology

Medical Degree:

  • University of Texas at Southwestern Medical School
  • University of Cambridge (PhD)

Where and for how many years did you train AFTER medical school?

  • 1 year transitional internship at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine
  • 4 years of radiation oncology residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, including 3 years in the ABR Holman Research Pathway Postdoctoral Fellowship.

In practice since:             



Radiation oncology, with a focus on head and neck cancers, and basic science and translational research.  Dr. Yu’s laboratory is interested in cellular replication stress response, and mediators of sensitivity of cancer cells to DNA damaging agents.

How did you choose your Specialty?

See below for clinical reasons. I also have an active research lab focused on the DNA damage response/DNA repair that is a good fit with radiation oncology.

What do you like MOST, and like LEAST, about your specialty?

Most: Gratification of improving patients’ quality of life and survival, highly specialized so you can develop expertise, multidisciplinary team approach, evidence-based approach that is conducive to research, out-patient based, diversity of cases depending on your disease site of interest, in general motivated patients who are appreciative of your work, in general regular work hours, more time spent with less patients, longitudinal care of patients.

Least:  Dependency on other providers for referrals.

In your opinion, what attributes are important in anyone choosing this specialty?        

Important to perform well academically. Research experience and productivity also highly important because of evidence-based nature of specialty in justifying treatments based on randomized clinical trials that have established standard of care. Enjoying out-patient based clinic. Being tolerant of working with sick patients who may not survive cancer.


  • Traveling
  • Running & Physical Fitness
  • Gardening
  • Cooking