David J. Leffell, MD

David J. Leffell, MD

Chief Medical Advisor

David J. Leffell, MD, a physician, researcher, and writer, is the David Paige Smith Professor of Dermatology and Surgery and Chief of Dermatologic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology at the Yale School of Medicine. For 15 years, he served as Chief Executive Officer of the Yale Medical Group, one of the country’s largest academic medical group practices, providing specialty care in more than 120 medical areas. For almost a decade, Dr. Leffell was also Deputy Dean for Clinical Affairs at Yale University School of Medicine, responsible for relations with Yale-New Haven Hospital, strategic development, and clinical trials oversight.

Dr. Leffell serves as Chair of the Advisory Board of Tullis Heath Investors where he is also a venture partner. Previously, he was an advisory partner at MalinPLC. Dr. Leffell consults with a wide range of consumer and skin focused companies including Merck and Unilever, as well as early-stage biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. He serves on the advisory boards of Dermasensor, FirstString, and on the board of Validus Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Leffell’s clinical focus is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer and new diagnostic and therapeutic technologies in skin health. He holds a patent for a laser device to measure skin aging and shares a patent for the discovery of the skin cancer gene, PTCH. He also invented a novel surgical therapy for treating vitiligo, a depigmenting condition of the skin.

Dr. Leffell is the author or co-author of more than 200 papers published in scientific journals, and several books. He was an editor of the world’s leading textbook of dermatology, Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine (including Russian and Spanish editions) and author of Manual of Skin Surgery (English and Chinese editions). Dr. Leffell also wrote a consumer-oriented book, Total Skin: The Definitive Guide to Whole Skin Care for Life, published by Hyperion. It is considered the go-to reference for information about skin health. Dr. Leffell has held editorial positions with many peer-reviewed journals and is also the author of a contribution called “Longevity Strategies” which appears in The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything, published in 2006.

Dr. Leffell, born and raised in Montreal received his BS, cum laude from Yale College. He graduated with MD, CM from McGill University Faculty of Medicine in Montreal. Board certified in medicine and dermatology, he completed residencies at Cornell Cooperating Hospitals (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and North Shore Hospital) and Yale-New Haven Hospital. At Yale, he also completed a post-doctoral fellowship as a National Institutes of Health research fellow. Following his residencies, he completed a clinical fellowship in advanced dermatologic surgery at the University of Michigan before returning to Yale in 1988 to found a new program in skin cancer and melanoma. The program, which combines patient-centered clinical care with teaching and research, has trained over 140 residents and 27 fellows in advanced dermatologic surgery and skin oncology.

Dr. Leffell lives in New Haven and Norfolk, CT. He has served as president of Artspace in New Haven and Connecticut Public Television. He has also been a trustee of the Hopkins School, New Haven since 2011.