Ajay K. Gopal, MD

Ajay K. Gopal, MD
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Ajay K. Gopal, MD

  • Medical Director of Clinical Research, Hematology, Malignancies/Hematology, Fred Hutch
  • Associate Professor, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutch
  • Professor, Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Stephen Hans Petersdorf, MD Endowed Chair in Cancer Care, UW Medicine

Medical Oncology

“We are united in the cause of finding your best treatment.”

— Dr. Gopal

What do you want patients to know about working with you?

Some patients come to my office armed with research they’ve unearthed on the Web about their condition. Others just show up feeling afraid, confused or both. However you are feeling, I will meet you where you are. It’s important for me to understand your disease, but I must also understand you — who you are outside of a person with cancer. I’ll share what the most current research has to say and what the standard care options are. We’ll work together as a team to improve your health and well-being and help you cope with your diagnosis.

Why is research important to you?

Improving patient care is what motivates my scientific research. I want to get results out of the lab as quickly as possible, so all patients have access to the newest treatments. For example, one project I’m working on is improving therapeutic options for older patients with lymphoma. The average age range of a person with this disease is 60 to 65. They represent half of all lymphoma patients, yet many are disqualified from participating in clinical trials due to toxicity issues. This means that these patients don’t always have access to the latest treatments. More research is vital to getting the most effective therapies to this group.

Provider Background

Area of Clinical Practice

Adult blood and marrow transplantation, hematologic malignancies


I am a medical oncologist who specializes in lymphomas and other cancers of the blood. I also serve as the director of clinical research for hematology malignancies at Fred Hutch. My research focuses on three main areas. The first is novel targeted therapies for lymphomas, such as radioimmunotherapy for use in stem cell transplants. The second area is low-toxicity therapies such as fenretinide; a synthetic derivative of vitamin A, fenretinide could be helpful for patients who have slow-growing lymphomas. My third area of investigation is curative therapies for older adults with lymphoma. Across these research topics, I have authored more than 100 scientific papers. I have also been a presenter at the annual conference of the American Society of Hematology.

Diseases Treated

Blood Disorders

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Cutaneous Lymphoma

Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma

Follicular Lymphoma

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Low Grade Lymphom


MALT Lymphoma

Mantle Cell Lymphoma

Marginal Zone Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Waldenström Macroglobulinemia



Education, Experience and Certifications

Undergraduate Degree
Duke University

Medical Degree
Duke University

Duke University Medical Center, Internal Medicine

University of Washington, Hematology-Oncology

Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 2000, 2010, American Board of Internal Medicine


Seattle magazine's 2021 Top Doctors award
Dr. Gopal has been recognized as a Top Doctor in this peer-nominated award multiple years in a row.

Seattle Met's 2019 Top Doctors award
Dr. Gopal has been recognized as a Top Doctor in Seattle Met's annual survey multiple years in a row.


All news
Dr. Ajay Gopal named Stephen H. Petersdorf Endowed Chair in Cancer Care at UW Medicine Chair honors his dedication to improving patient care through research January 26, 2023
One family, two sides of cancer Basic scientist Dr. Wenying Shou’s parents were both treated for — and cured of — their cancers. The similarities end there. October 6, 2017

Clinical Trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch physicians. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your physician can decide if a study is right for you. 

Find a Clinical Trial Led by Dr. Gopal


Many of our Fred Hutch physicians conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other physicians and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this Fred Hutch physician has written. 

View Dr. Gopal's Publications

Your Care Team

At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes physicians, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like registered dietitians, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders. 


Fred Hutch accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.

For the Media

The Media Relations team at Fred Hutch is available to assist members of the news media who would like to arrange interviews with providers.

Email media@fredhutch.org or call 206.667.2210