Shyam Rao, M.D., Ph.D.

Shyam Rao, M.D., Ph.D.


Radiation Oncology




Radiation Oncology


  • Associate Professor
  • Medical Director


To see if Shyam Rao is accepting new patients, or for assistance finding a UC Davis doctor, please call 800-2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284).

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

4501 X St., Suite 0140
Sacramento, CA 95817
Driving Directions

Primary Phone:

Additional Phone Numbers

Clinic Phone: 916-734-5823
Clinic Fax: 916-703-5068
Physician Referrals: 800-4-UCDAVIS (800-482-3284)

Philosophy of Care

I strive to work with each individual patient to provide the highest-quality care while also advancing our current cancer treatments. I am committed to individualized patient care, state-of-the-art treatment strategies, teaching and research to provide the best possible patient care.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Rao specializes in the use of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). Using these advanced techniques, we can effectively treat tumors while reducing the chance of side effects.

As cancers is often treated with a combination of therapies, Dr. Rao works closely with surgeons and medical oncologists to provide the optimal treatment for each patient.    

Dr. Rao was previously a faculty member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Research/Academic Interests

Dr. Rao's research has focused on improving the effectiveness of radiation therapy and reducing treatment-related side effects. 


Radiation Oncology

Center/Program Affiliation

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center


M.D., UC Irvine College of Medicine, Irvine CA 2005

Ph.D., UC Irvine, Irvine CA 2003

B.A., UC Berkeley, Berkeley CA 1994

Internship: Internal Medicine, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon NH 2006


Radiation Oncology, Washington University, St. Louis MO 2010

Board Certifications

American Board of Radiology, Radiation Oncology,

Professional Memberships

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American College of Radiology

American Society for Clinical Oncology

American Society for Radiology and Oncology

New York Head Neck Society

Honors and Awards

Hope Center for Neurological Disorders Research Award, 2009

Lloyd Guth Award for Excellence in Graduate Research, 2003

University of California, Regents Fellowship, 2000

University of California, Berkeley Outstanding Service Award, 1994

Select Recent Publications

Rao SD, Saleh ZH, Setton J, Tam M, McBride SM, Riaz N, Deasy JO, Lee NY.  Dose-volume factors correlating with trismus following chemoradiation for head and neck cancer. Acta Oncol. 2015 Apr 29:1-6. 

Tam M, Riaz N, Kannarunimit D, Peña AP, Schupak KD, Gelblum DY, Wolden SL, Rao S, Lee NY.  Sparing Bilateral Neck Level IB in Oropharyngeal Carcinoma and Xerostomia Outcomes. Am J Clin Oncol. 2015 Aug;38(4):343-7. 

Romesser PB1, Sherman EJ, Shaha AR, Lian M, Wong RJ, Sabra M, Rao SS, Fagin JA, Tuttle RM, Lee NY.  External beam radiotherapy with or without concurrent chemotherapy in advanced or recurrent non-anaplastic non-medullary thyroid cancer. J Surg Oncol. 2014 Jun 24. 

Riaz N, Hong JC, Sherman EJ, Morris L, Fury M, Ganly I, Wang TJ, Shi W, Wolden SL, Jackson A, Wong RJ, Zhang Z, Rao SD, Lee NY.  A nomogram to predict loco-regional control after re-irradiation for head and neck cancer.  Radiother Oncol. 2014 Jun 30.

Lok B1, Chin C, Riaz N, Ho F, Hu M, Hong J, Shi W, Zhang Z, Sherman E, Wong R, Morris L, Ganly I, Wolden S, Rao S, Lee N. Irradiation for locoregionally recurrent, never irradiated oral cavity cancers. Head Neck. 2014 Jun 21.

Rao S, Thompson CM, Cheng J, Haimovitz-Friedman A, Powell SN, Fuks Z, Kolesnick RN.  Axitinib Sensitization of High Single Dose Radiotherapy.  Radiother Oncol. 2014 Apr;111(1):88-93. Epub 2014 Apr 29.

Rao SD, Fury MG, Pfister DG.  Molecular Targeted Therapies in Head and Neck Cancer.  Seminars in Radiation Oncology. Semin Radiat Oncol. 2012 Jul;22(3):207-13.

Baxi S, Fury M, Ganly I, Rao S, Pfister DG.  Ten years of progress in head and neck cancers. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2012 Jul 1;10(7):806-10.

Rao S, Sengupta R, Choe A, Woerner B, Jackson J, Sun T, Leonard J, Piwnica-Worms D, Rubin JB.  CXCL12 mediates trophic interactions between endothelial and tumor cells in Glioblastoma. PLoS One. 2012;7(3). Epub 2012 Mar 12.

Setton J, Caria N, Romanyshyn J, Koutcher L, Wolden SL, Zelefsky MJ, Rowan N, Sherman EJ, Fury MG, Pfister DG, Wong RJ, Shah JP, Kraus DH, Shi W, Zhang Z, Schupak KD, Gelblum DY, Rao SD, Lee NY.  Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy in the Treatment of Oropharyngeal Cancer: An Update of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Experience. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Jan 1;82(1):291-8.