Robert Dess

Robert Dess, MD

Associate Professor
Ambulatory Care Clinical Chief (ACCC) for Radiation Oncology
Co-Director, Ronald Weiser Center for Prostate Cancer
Co-Director of the Michigan Radiation Oncology Quality Consortium

University Hospital, B2C502
1500 E Medical Center Dr
Ann Arbor MI  48109-5010


Clinical Contacts

Ann Arbor

Administrative Contact


Dr. Dess is an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Michigan.

He attended medical school at University of Chicago and completed his residency in radiation oncology at the University of Michigan.

He practices in several locations. At the University of Michigan Ann Arbor main campus, he is the co-Chief of Genitourinary Radiotherapy Service, and also leads the high dose rate (HDR) prostate brachytherapy program. At the Brighton Center for Specialty Care, he serves as the primary genitourinary radiation oncologist.

Dr. Dess is a clinical and translational researcher focused on genitourinary malignancy. He has worked with a global network of collaborators to create novel prognostic models to characterize prostate cancer disease aggressiveness, to identify novel prognostic and predictive biomarkers, to analyze racial outcomes differences and settings in which disparities are minimized, and to advance more convenient forms of treatment including stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and high-dose rate brachytherapy (HDR). He is interested in maximizing efficacy, minimizing burden, and understanding the long-term toxicity risks of treatment. His work has been published high profile in peer-reviewed journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and JAMA Oncology.

Dr. Dess also serves as the co-lead for prostate cancer within the Michigan Radiation Oncology Quality Consortium (MROQC) where he works to improve state-wide care.

Clinical Interests

  • Prostate cancer
  • Genitourinary cancers
  • Toxicity Mitigation and Quality of Life
  • Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT)
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
  • High dose rate (HDR) prostate brachytherapy

Honors & Awards

  • 2020- Radiation Oncology Institute Publication Award
  • 2018- ARRO Resident Research Award
  • 2014- Intern of the Year
  • 2002- Magna Cum Laude


  • Board Certification, Radiation Oncology
  • Residency, Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, 2018
  • MD, University of Chicago, 2013
  • BS, Northwestern University, 2002

Published Articles or Reviews

Selected from more than 75 publications

  • Dess RT, Suresh K, Zelefsky MJ, Freedland SJ, Mahal BA, Cooperberg MR, Davis BJ, Horwitz EM, Terris MK, Amling CL, Aronson WJ, Kane CJ, Jackson WC, Hearn JWD, Deville C, DeWeese TL, Greco S, McNutt TR, Song DY, Sun Y, Mehra R, Kaffenberger SD, Morgan TM, Nguyen PL, Feng FY, Sharma V, Tran PT, Stish BJ, Pisansky TM, Zaorsky NG, Moraes FY, Berlin A, Finelli A, Fossati N, Gandaglia G, Briganti A, Carroll PR, Karnes RJ, Kattan MW, Schipper MJ, Spratt DE. Development and Validation of a Clinical Prognostic Stage Group System for Nonmetastatic Prostate Cancer Using Disease-Specific Mortality Results From the International Staging Collaboration for Cancer of the Prostate. JAMA Oncol. 2020 Dec 1;6(12):1912-1920. PMID: 33090219
  • Dess RT, Sun Y, Jackson WC, Jairath NK, Kishan AU, Wallington DG, Mahal BA, Stish BJ, Zumsteg ZS, Den RB, Hall WA, Gharzai LA, Jaworski EM, Reichert ZR, Morgan TM, Mehra R, Schaeffer EM, Sartor O, Nguyen PL, Lee WR, Rosenthal SA, Michalski JM, Schipper MJ, Dignam JJ, Pisansky TM, Zietman AL, Sandler HM, Efstathiou JA, Feng FY, Shipley WU, Spratt DE. Association of Presalvage Radiotherapy PSA Levels After Prostatectomy With Outcomes of Long-term Antiandrogen Therapy in Men With Prostate Cancer. JAMA Oncol. 2020 May 1;6(5):735-743. PMID: 32215583
  • Dess RT, Hartman HE, Mahal BA, Soni PD, Jackson WC, Cooperberg MR, Amling CL, Aronson WJ, Kane CJ, Terris MK, Zumsteg ZS, Butler S, Osborne JR, Morgan TM, Mehra R, Salami SS, Kishan AU, Wang C, Schaeffer EM, Roach M 3rd, Pisansky TM, Shipley WU, Freedland SJ, Sandler HM, Halabi S, Feng FY, Dignam JJ, Nguyen PL, Schipper MJ, Spratt DE. Association of Black Race With Prostate Cancer–Specific and Other-Cause Mortality. JAMA Oncol. 2019 Jul 1;5(7):975-983. PMID: 31120534

Web Sites


1500 E Medical Center Dr
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5010