Diwakar Davar, MD, Named Clinical Director of the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program

Diwakar Davar, MD

Diwakar Davar, MD

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is very pleased to announce Diwakar Davar, MD, MS, as clinical director for the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program at UPMC Hillman, effective March 1, 2023.

Dr. Davar is a medical oncologist and hematologist at UPMC Hillman, a member of the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy research program, and associate professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Davar is a graduate of the National University of Singapore. He completed his residency in general internal medicine and fellowship in hematology/oncology at Pitt, mentored by Drs. Hassane Zarour and John Kirkwood, the principle investigators of the Melanoma and Skin Cancer SPORE. He also obtained a Masters in Clinical Research from Pitt’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Dr. Davar has made substantial contributions to research and patient care at UPMC Hillman, as a compassionate translational and clinical oncologist. He has an impressive, deep understanding of immunotherapy and has had a steadfast commitment to the concept that cancer immunotherapy can improve the survival of melanoma patients. His work, in collaboration with dermatologist/immunologist Dr. Zarour, has demonstrated that changing the gut microbiome could transform the response of patients with advanced melanoma to immunotherapy, from those who never responded into patients who do respond.

As clinical director of the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program, Dr. Davar joins the overall leadership team of the Melanoma Program where he will have the responsibility to coordinate the delivery of medical oncology care to our melanoma/skin cancer patients, streamline outpatient clinical care delivery by physicians and APPs, in consultation with program leaders and other physician members of the program. He will liaise with Dr. Dan Zandberg, director of clinical operations for the Division, and serve as the primary point of contact for outpatient and inpatient clinical care delivery issues that impact on the Melanoma Program. Additionally, Dr. Davar will serve as Disease Center Leader within CRS with Dr. Jason Luke, who serves as interim associate director for Clinical Research, and will oversee the melanoma and skin cancer clinical trials portfolio and work with colleagues Drs. Hassane Zarour, John Kirkwood, Jason Luke, and Yana Najjar to promote translational research in this disease group.

UPMC Hillman also wants to take this opportunity to thank Dr. John Kirkwood for his long-time overall leadership of the Melanoma Program. Dr. Kirkwood will continue to conduct research on melanoma and see patients in the Melanoma Program, as he expands his research interests in the areas of cancer prevention and early detection. 

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