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2015 Candidate Biographies & Vision Statements
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Scroll to view all candidates - Vice President-Elect and Councilor-at-Large - all are listed alphabetically by office.
Vice President - Elect
David Kirsch, MD, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Medicine

VISION STATEMENT:

Over the past two decades, discoveries in cancer biology have led to important advances in cancer therapy, but most of these gains have been concentrated in medical oncology.  In contrast, advances in radiation oncology have largely resulted from advances in technology.  I believe that the future holds great promise for equally impactful discoveries in radiation research that will advance the care of cancer patients treated with radiation therapy.  This vision has the best chance of coming to fruition if scientists with expertise in radiation chemistry, physics and biology come together and interact with physician scientists and clinicians in radiation oncology to share perspectives, debate ideas, and collaborate to advance radiation research together.  The natural forum for these interactions is the Radiation Research Society.  However, at this time of unprecedented scientific opportunity in radiation research, there is growing concern for the vitality of our society because of aging demographics and a limited number of trainees in the radiation sciences, who are successfully transitioning to independence.  To address this problem, as a member of Council I have helped to establish the Early Career Investigators group within RRS.  If elected Vice President-Elect, I will continue to work to encourage the participation of Early Career Investigators in the annual meeting through opportunities for travel support and invited presentations.  I will also continue to work to increase the participation in RRS of a vibrant group of radiation oncology residents and junior independent physician scientists.   These talented investigators are poised to make discoveries that will advance radiobiology and radiation medicine, but some of them are not currently connected to our society.  By focusing on Early Career Investigators, who are already members of RRS, as well as by increasing the participation of junior physician scientists in RRS, I believe that we can increase our society’s membership over the next few years.  More importantly, by encouraging the participation of the next generation of radiation chemists, physicists, biologists, and oncologists at the annual meeting, we will promote interdisciplinary interactions across all branches of our society.  This will not only increase the strength of RRS, but it will also increase the cross-fertilization of ideas that will have the best potential to advance radiation research to ultimately improve the outcome of patients with cancer.
 Vice President - Elect 
Kevin M. Prise, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Biology

VISION STATEMENT:

The Radiation Research Society is the premier society for radiation research and is evolving to offer tremendous opportunities for its membership with their full engagement. My objectives would be 1) to continue to develop and strengthen the multidisciplinary ethos of the Society to ensure it acts as the natural home for all researchers working in the radiation sciences, both basic and applied, and that the annual meeting is a focal point for all radiation research, 2) To engage with other agencies and related societies to maximize the impact of radiation research on the National and International stage with the Radiation Research Society playing a major strategic role, 3) To further build on the strengths of the Scholars-in-Training program so that the Society can act as an enabler of career development from graduate students right through to principal investigator status and 4) To assist in the continuing success and development of the Journal as the premier communicator of high quality radiation research.

 Councilor-at-Large


Eric Y. Chuang, Sc.D.
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DISCIPLINE: Biology

VISION STATEMENT:
I have been a member of the Radiation Research Society for more than two decades and have interacted or collaborated with many RRS members. I enjoyed the unique character of the RRS, that is her interdisciplinary nature including biology, chemistry, physics, and medicine. The RRS has set a great foundation to promote cross-disciplinary research. Recent advances in radiation science among different fields have provided a good demonstration, which will shape the future of radiation therapy. When I was the Program Director of Radiation Research Program at NCI, I helped to promote the establishment of Radiogenomics Consortium and was one of the founding members. The Radiogenomics Consortium has been integrating genomic technologies and bioinformatics for improving radiation therapy. Therefore, as Councilor-at-Large, I will work to advocate and enhance interdisciplinary collaborations within the society. Since I was working as an intramural scientist and extramural Program Director at NCI for many years, I would like to share my rather unique professional experiences with our SIT or student members as well as actively recruit young fellows to join the society. Moreover, the RRS is an international society and have many members coming from outside of US. One of important issues of the society is how to maintain a sustainable size of our members. Currently, I am working as a faculty member at National Taiwan University in Asia, I will try my best to promote the RRS, and thus more international members from Asia can be recruited. Finally, if elected, I will put my best effort to work closely with the current RRS leadership in order to make significant progress for the future of the society.
  Councilor-at-Large
Michael Dingfelder, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Physics

VISION STATEMENT:

Radiation Research is multi- and cross-disciplinary endeavor and relies on interactions between its basic disciplines of biology, chemistry, physics, and medicine. None of the areas alone can adequately address and describe a coherent picture of radiation effects, but their combinations. This is what makes the Radiation Research Society strong and interesting to researchers. As councilor-at-large, if elected, I intend to work with everyone from all disciplines to keep up the Radiation Research Society’s reputation as a leader in the field and the want-to-be society.

One of the current challenges to a lot of larger scientific societies is declining membership with the creation of small and specialized interest groups and the lack of interest and new blood. We need to be creative and open the society to these specialized groups without disregarding our basic disciplines for the better of all.  This will ensure that the Radiation Research Society stays the premiere location for advancements of radiation sciences. I would be proud to bring back my enthusiasm, expertise and experience to the Council. In particular, I intend to:
    - represent all groups on the Council to achieve a synergetic effect;
    - work towards increasing membership, especially but not limited to young investigators from the U.S. and abroad (e.g., Europe, Pacific Rim);
    - attract new interest groups, especially from physics, chemistry, and (mathematical) modeling to collaborate and participate; and help to create interesting and cross-disciplinary annual meetings.

  Councilor-at-Large
Joseph Dynlacht, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Biology

VISION STATEMENT:
Some people might say that I fell for the Radiation Research Society last year, when I literally fell off the back of the stage during a session I was chairing!  But in reality, I really fell in love with RRS during the first meeting I attended in 1987, when I witnessed first-hand the true interdisciplinary nature of the Society.  Indeed, I have been, and would continue to remain dedicated to promoting and maintaining our approach of encouraging interactions between members of the Society’s core fields (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Medicine), while also encouraging the participation of other related associations at our annual meetings.  Student training should continue to remain a priority of our Society, but additional emphasis should be focused on creating opportunities to mentor junior faculty that have decided to dedicate their careers to the radiation sciences.  As with our Scholars-in-Training, the retention of junior faculty by the society (and their continued presence and contributions at the annual meetings) is critical for maintaining a robust and thriving Society.
  Councilor-at-Large
Mohan Natarajan, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Biology

VISION STATEMENT:

In the past years we have seen a profound advancement in fine tuning radiation as a tool to treat cancer. Integration of physics, chemistry, biology and medicine has been well articulated in achieving precision in imaging, targeting and treating cancer.  Similar (or more advanced) integrated approaches should be the goal in coming years for normal tissue response, contribution of micro-environmental niche and mechanism of bystander effect.   Focusing on these issues will help not only in developing safer ways to use radiation in clinics but also help in developing countermeasures to protect normal tissue injury in other situations such as occupational, intentional and accidental exposures.   As an elected RRS Councilor of Biology, I will raise the awareness among the young and mid-career members in our society and encourage them to strongly consider these issues in their study.  Second, I will work with the membership committee to bring in more members from other biological science fields to radiation research.  This is very important since it will add valuable expertise to radiation research and enhance the visibility of our society, which, I believe, will rapidly advance the field.  My third goal will be to encourage members to collaborate with small businesses who are interested in biological responses to radiation in order to translate basic science to an application tool and marketing.  This bridging may also foster research funding from different untapped sources, and also increase the contribution of corporate members to our society.  I am truly honored to be nominated, and, if I am elected, I will make every effort to accomplish these goals.
  Councilor-at-Large

Janice Pluth, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Biology

VISION STATEMENT:
As Councilor-at-Large, I am committed to maintaining the collegiality and scientific excellence of the society, and the disciplines that comprise it. I recognize that the future of Radiation Research lies in the next generation of scientists and am dedicated to providing opportunities within Radiation Research to enhance the careers of the society’s emerging scientists. 
  Councilor-at-Large
Michael Story, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Biology

VISION STATEMENT
That vision thing: There is enormous downward pressure on the radiation sciences community. The contraction is evident at meetings where I find myself, at my age, to be one of the younger people in the room. Of course, science in general suffers from a significant reduction in grant dollars and at the same time increasing pressure from the institutional level to generate more and more grant revenues. The mentality of living quarter to quarter is invading academics. Yet at the same time, there is greater than ever a need for a community steeped in the knowledge of what radiation is and what the consequences of exposure are. Radiological terrorism, nuclear accidents, low dose exposures, even the short-lived implementation of backscatter detectors in airports calls for a community of experts that can be engaged to enhance the understanding of, and to disseminate accurate information for, the risks from such exposures. In addition, new biotechnologies and a greater understanding of the oncogenic process are being integrated into research designed to enhance the therapeutic use of radiation, the notion being precision medicine. We are also seeing an ever increasing use of proton therapy and there is a significant push to engage therapy using heavier particles. All are ripe areas for biological and medical and particle physics investigation. HR 35 of the 114th Congress is one step in that direction and as a society we should engage with our congressional representatives as appropriate, but each and every member of congress should have an RRS member in their rolodex. In addition, I fully support and would hope to expand the RRS educational and early career programs. These endeavors require funds and I would be more than willing to offer my time and effort towards current efforts as well as working to identify new sources of funding to sustain projects vital to the RRS mission.
  Councilor-at-Large
Daohong Zhou, MD
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DISCIPLINE: Medicine

VISION STATEMENT:
The Radiation Research Society (RRS) has been my professional home since I became an independent investigator in 1999. Since then I have been actively involved in various activities in the society, including serving as a member on the RRS membership committee for more than 4 years. If I am fortunately elected as the Councilor-At-Large, one of my goals is to be actively involved in mentoring young scientists in radiation research and recruiting investigators from other disciplines in order to maintain the excellence and to ensure long-term success of our Society. In addition, while we should continue our traditional excellence of research in radiation physics, chemistry, biology and medicine, I believe that our society should broaden the scopes of our research into the more rapidly expanding fields of biology and medicine, such as stem cell biology, tumor immunology and aging, to have a great impact on the improvement of human health. Therefore, I would like to advocate more multi-discipline collaborations within our society and with investigators in other disciplines to increase the visibility and recognition of our society in the general scientific community.
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