Dr. Tu Dan grew up in Florida and graduated cum laude from the University of Florida with degrees in microbiology and psychology; he continued at UF and earned his medical degree with honors in research. During medical school, he spent significant time at the National Institutes of Health developing his interests in cancer research and, between his third and fourth years, was selected to participate in the prestigious NIH Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP).

His interest in research continued as he completed an internship in internal medicine and a residency in radiation oncology at Thomas Jefferson University in Pennsylvania. While in residency, he was awarded a Resident Seed Grant from the American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) investigating the role of microRNAs in the development of breast cancer. He has been the lead or contributing author of numerous cancer research papers published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

Dr. Dan arrived at UT Southwestern in 2016 and became a member of the dedicated central nervous system (CNS) cancer team focusing on the treatment of adults and children with primary and metastatic brain tumors. He remains active in the laboratory and is interested in utilizing next-generation gene-editing technology (e.g., clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, or CRISPR ) to investigate novel mediators of radiation sensitivity and resistance under the direction of Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Joshua Mendell, M.D., Ph.D.

Despite his transplant to Dallas, Dr. Dan remains loyal to Florida sports and continues to be a lifelong Gators fan. He is a health and fitness advocate who takes a holistic approach to treatment and has published a number of manuscripts examining the role of diet in the development and treatment of cancer. He believes that in addition to standard treatments, other factors including diet, exercise, and psychological well-being all play important roles in the care of cancer patients.

Meet Dr. Dan

Tu Dan, M.D., is a member of the team devoted to treating central nervous system (CNS) malignancies such as brain tumors and cancers of the spinal cord. He is also a committed physician-scientist, devoting a significant portion of his professional time to the study of radiation resistance and strategies to improve the efficacy of radiation.

"When I began studying to become a doctor, I encountered so many uncertainties and shortcomings in our current understanding of cancer,” Dr. Dan says. “I was always questioning why we couldn’t explain why certain tumors behave differently than others. This is what motivated me to pursue a research career – to improve our understanding of cancer so that better treatments for patients can be developed.”

With advanced tools such as CyberKnife and Gamma Knife, Dr. Dan works closely with UT Southwestern’s neurosurgery team to treat both primary and metastatic cancers in the brain and spine. He also has specialized training and experience in treating pediatric patients with cancer.

“Cancer can be a very scary diagnosis; there’s a lot of anxiety involved,” Dr. Dan says. “Cancer is also very complex. It’s important for doctors to use their experience and expertise to distill the information as best as possible so that patients can understand what their treatment options are and best formulate their goals of care.

“My role is to be an advocate and information source so that patients can make the best decisions for themselves.”

Dr. Tu Dan’s clinical interests include:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Central nervous system (CNS) malignancies
  • Pediatric cancer

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Education & Training
  • Residency - Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University (2012-2016), Radiation Oncology
  • Internship - University of Florida College of Medicine (2011-2012), Internal Medicine
  • Medical School - University of Florida College of Medicine (2006-2011)
Honors & Awards
  • Texas Super Doctors, Rising Star 2021
  • Texas Super Doctors, Rising Star 2020
Books & Publications
  • Dr. Dan is a post-doc in the Mendell Lab, which focuses on mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression and how these pathways influence normal physiology and disease.

Clinical Focus

  • Radiation Therapy for Cancer
  • Radiation Therapy for Spinal Cord Cancer
  • Acoustic Neuromas
  • Bone Marrow Transplant
  • Brain Metastases
  • Pediatric Brain Tumors
  • Brain & Spinal Cord Cancer
  • Gliomas
  • Meningiomas
  • Pituitary Tumors
  • Skull Base Tumors
  • Radiation Therapy for Brain Tumors

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