Rafael Fonseca, M.D.

  1. Hematologist

Rafael Fonseca, M.D., is a hematologist who specializes in the care and research of multiple myeloma and related conditions. Dr. Fonseca earned his medical degree at Universidad Anahuac, Mexico. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Miami, Florida, and a fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Fonseca has served in many leadership capacities at Mayo Clinic including Director for the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center (Interim, Enterprise) and Associate Director for the Center of Individualized Medicine (Arizona) and Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine (Arizona). Most notably, he is a Mayo Clinic Distinguished Investigator, the highest academic distinction given to investigators at the institution.

Dr. Fonseca's practice focuses on diagnosing and treating plasma cell disorders. He participates and leads clinical trials that have led to the approval of various drugs for the treatment of myeloma. His efforts include translational research, clinical research and clinical care. Dr. Fonseca led a team of researchers that characterized the clinical implications of genetic markers in myeloma. He also has expertise in myeloma bone disease, prognostic markers, pharmacoeconomics and new drug development. His laboratory is also focused on development of new drugs and understanding their mechanisms of action. Dr. Fonseca's research has been funded by the National Cancer Institute (R01, P01, SPORE), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Multiple Myeloma Research Fund, and the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fund. He has given many national and international presentations as a visiting professor, and has authored numerous articles (over 300), book chapters, editorials, abstracts and letters. He has an H index 114, with 48418 citations (Google Scholar accessed 9/2020).

Throughout his training and career, Dr. Fonseca has received numerous awards and honors, including the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Clinical Investigator Award and the International Waldenström Macroglobulinemia Research Award.

  • Multiple myeloma and related disorders
  • Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)
  • Amyloidosis
  • Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia
  • Genetics of B cell tumors
  • New drug development
  • Myeloma bone disease
  • Pharmacoeconomics
  • Health care policy
  1. 1998
    Fellow - Clinical Hematology and Medical OncologyMayo Graduate School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  2. 1994
    Resident - Internal MedicineUniversity of Miami
  3. 1991
    MD - Medical School EducationUniversidad Anahuac


  1. 1998
    HematologyAmerican Board of Internal Medicine

Awards and honors

  1. 2012
    Academic Excellence Award in the Faculty of Health SciencesMexico Norte, Vince in Bono Malum, Universidad Anahuac
  2. 2010
    Distinguished Mayo Clinic InvestigatorMayo Clinic
  3. 2009
    Getz Family Professor of Cancer, Named Professorship AwardMayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, Department of Education Administration
  4. 2002
    Young Investigator Award in HematologyCelgene, Achievement Awards for Clinical Research in Hematology
  5. 2002
    New Investigator Award, Department of Internal MedicineAwarding Organization
  6. 2001
    Young Investigator AwardECOG Aventis
  7. 2001
    Young Investigator AwardEastern Cooperative Oncology Group
  8. 1998
    Outstanding Achievement Award as Clinical Fellow in HematologyMayo Clinic
  9. 1997
    Berlex Oncology Foundation Award: Pharmacology of Anticancer DrugsBerlex Oncology Foundation
  10. 1997
    Berlex Oncology Foundation Award: Genetics in OncologyBerlex Oncology Foundation
  11. 1996
    Berlex Oncology Foundation Award: Epidemiology and Clinical Trial DesignBerlex Oncology Foundation
  12. 1989
    Honorific Mention for having obtained the highest final GPA of the Medical School ClassUniversidad Anahuac

Professional memberships

  1. 2021 - present
    MemberScientific Advisory Board, OncoMyx Therapeutics, Inc.
  2. 2021 - present
    MemberBoard of Directors, Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio)
  3. 2020 - present
    MemberScientific Advisory Board, Caris Life Sciences, American Society of Clinical Oncology
  4. 2020 - present
    MemberMayo Clinic Board of Trustees
  5. 2020 - present
    MemberMayo Clinic Board of Governors
  6. 2020 - present
    MemberScientific Advisory Board, ONCOtracker
  7. 2017 - 2021
    MemberScientific Advisory Board, Adaptive Biotechnologies
  8. 2017
    MemberAmerican Society of Clinical Oncology
  9. 2017
    MemberAmerican Society of Hematology
  10. 2017
    ChairScientific Subcommittee on Plasma Cell Neoplasms, American Society of Hematology
  11. 2017
    MemberInternational Myeloma Society
  12. 2017
    MemberAssociation of American Physicians and Surgeons
  13. 2017 - present
    Visiting Healthcare FellowGoldwater Institute
  14. 2016 - 2017
    MemberAmerican College of Physicians
  15. 2016
    Program ChairEPIC (Emerging Paradigms in Care) Congress Coverage, TRM Oncology Expert Round Table, Multiple Myeloma
  16. 2016
    Vice ChairScientific Committee on Plasma Cell Neoplasia, Faculty Meeting, American Society of Hematology
  17. 2016
    Vice ChairChairs Meeting, Scientific Committee, American Society of Hematology
  18. 2016
    Vice ChairScientific Subcommittee on Plasma Cell Neoplasms, American Society of Hematology
  19. 2015
    Program ChairEPIC (Emerging Paradigms in Care) Congress Coverage, ASH 2015 Multiple Myeloma Highlights Meeting, American Society of Hematology
  20. 2015
    Advisory Board MemberEndeavor - Proteasome Inhibition Global Advisory Board
  21. 2014 - 2015
    MemberScientific Subcommittee on Plasma Cell Neoplasms, American Society of Hematology
  22. 2012 - present
    ChairDepartment of Internal Medicine
  23. 2012 - present
    MemberExecutive Operations Team, Mayo Clinic Arizona Committees
  24. 2010 - 2012
    MemberMayo Clinic Cancer Center Scientific Advisory Council, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center Committees, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
  25. 2010 - present
    MemberAmerican Association for Cancer Research
  26. 2010 - present
    MemberMinorities in Cancer Research, American Association for Cancer Research
  27. 2007 - 2012
    Deputy DirectorMayo Clinic Cancer Center
  28. 2007 - 2012
    MemberCancer Center Committee, Executive Operations Team - Arizona, Mayo Clinic Arizona Committees
  29. 2007 - 2011
    Program LeaderHematologic Malignancies
  30. 2006
    ChairThe Role of Molecular Diagnostics for Patient Management in Multiple Myeloma and Leukemia, 11the Congress, European Hematology Association
  31. 2005
    Session ChairMyeloma Biology, Clinical Implications of Genomics, Special Conference, American Association for Cancer Research
  32. 2004 - 2008
    Site DirectorHematological Malignancies, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine
  33. 2003
    Round Table ChairMolecular Genetics of Multiple Myeloma, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
  34. 2003 - 2010
    ChairGenomics Core, Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium
  35. 2001 - 2008
    Laboratory ChairECOG Myeloma Committee, Mayo Clinic Task Forces/Work Groups
  36. 2001
    Committee MemberInternational Prognostic Index in Myeloma Working Group
  37. 2000 - 2004
    ChairTranslational Research Committee, Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine
  38. 1999 - 2004
    MemberHematology Research Committee, Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine
    Vice ChairResearch, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine
    FellowInternational Society of Hematology
    MemberEastern Cooperative Oncology Group
    MemberMexican Society of Internal Medicine
    MemberLeadership Team, Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium
    MemberTissue Banking Core, Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium
    MemberNorth Central Cancer Treatment Group
    Ad Hoc ReviewerDevelopmental Therapeutics Study Section, NCI Study Sections
    ReviewerNCI SPORE Grant Review, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health


Research activities

See a description of research activities.