Tong Dai, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Oncology, Department of Thoracic Oncology
Co-Chair, Scientific Review Committee (SRC)
Committee Member, Scientific Review Committee (SRC) Executive Committee
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Associate Professor
Department of Medicine
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo
Areas of Expertise: 
Clinical Trials
Drug Development
Special Interests: 
Cancer Biology
Cancer Immunology
Early phase clinical trial
Phase II/III clinical trial


I graduated from Shanghai Medical University and later came to the U.S. and obtained a PhD in molecular biology at the Medical College of Ohio. I did research in cancer biology at UPENN and then Yale as a postdoctoral associate. I completed an internal medicine residency at the Yale-affiliated Hospital of Saint Raphael program and trained in Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center during hematology and oncology fellowship. After that, I joined Cornell University Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital as Assistant Professor specializing in GI cancers, and clinical investigator involved in both clinical and translational research. I was the Cornell site PI for several early and late phase clinical trials including the phase 1 CXCR4 inhibitor AMD3100/Plerixafor immunotherapy trial, and wrote the protocol for an investigator-initiated trial (IIT) of high-dose IV vitamin C in solid tumors, which subsequently won a SU2C award for Cornell. In 2017, I left Cornell and joined Merck as a Director of oncology research and led several global Phase I-III immuno-oncology trials including Keynote 177 and 164 in MSI-H colorectal cancer, and Keynote 651 in non-MSI-H CRC. Most recently, I led the designing and protocol writing of a Phase III study of combinational immunotherapy vs standard of care chemotherapy in third line non-MSI-H CRC. 
Although developing novel immunotherapy at Merck for cancer patients with high unmet need is very gratifying, I missed direct patient care. Thus, I returned to academic and joined Roswell Park on 8/1/2019 to focus on head and neck cancer patient care and clinical/translational research. I will also provide care for patients with lung cancer, as well as, participating in the running of phase I program to investigate safety and early efficacy of new drugs and combinations.


Education and Training: 
PhD - Molecular Biology, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, Ohio
MD - Shanghai Medical University, China
Hospital of Saint Raphael (Yale New Haven Hospital Chapel Campus), New Haven, CT
Montefiore Medical Center/Einstein School of Medicine, Bronx, NY
Board Certification: 
American Board of Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine
American Board of Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology
Professional Memberships: 
American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology Committee of Overseas Experts (CSCO - COE)
European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO)
Honors and Awards: 
2009 - Chairperson and Invited Speaker, “Notch Signaling and Cancer,” American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual meeting, Denver, CO
2001 - American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) graduate student travel award for Experimental Biology meeting, Orlando, FL
Professional Experience: 
Director, Oncology Clinical Development, Merck Research Laboratory, Rahway, NJ
Assistant Professor, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY
Member, Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, New York, NY