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2016 Candidate Biographies & Vision Statements
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Scroll to view all candidates - Vice-President Elect, Secretary-Treasurer Elect, and Councilor-at-Large - all are listed alphabetically, by office.
Vice-President Elect
              Eric Y. Chuang, Sc.D.
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DISCIPLINE: Biology

VISION STATEMENT:

The Radiation Research Society (RRS) has become a great organization to promote inter- and multidisciplinary research involving biology, chemistry, physics, and medicine. Recent advances in various fields of radiological science have provided a good demonstration as well as opportunities, which will shape the future of our community. For instance, the blooming of particle therapy in the past decade has revitalized many areas of radiation research including the biology, physics and clinical applications of protons and other particles. The initiatives in precision medicine and in tumor immunotherapy further create opportunities in radiological sciences. We shall keep working to advocate and enhance interdisciplinary collaborations among our members and those of our sister societies. My objectives are addressed in the following. First, RRS shall play a leading role in collaborating with different institutions or government agencies to establish various training programs for attracting and retaining future researchers in radiation sciences. For examples, there are many new particle therapy facilities currently under construction or in planning, and thus there will be a high demand for experts in various fields of radiation researchers. Secondly, it would be very important to continue to strengthen the Scholars-in-Training (SIT) and Early Career Investigators (ECI) programs for future career development of young fellows. Furthermore, one of the major issues of the society is how to maintain a growing membership. Thus, we need to work very hard to recruit new blood to the society globally. Thirdly, the Journal of the Society, Radiation Research, is a world-renowned journal for publications of high quality radiation research. However, the impact of open-access publications has imposed a great challenge for future development of the Journal, and how to further broaden its readership has become an important issue. We shall consider Radiation Research becoming an open-access journal in order to face competitions from other related journals. 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 development of the society.
 Vice-President Elect 

David Kirsch, MD, PhD
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DISCIPLINE:Medicine

VISION STATEMENT:

This spring I had the privilege of participating in J. Martin Brown’s retirement symposium. It was an incredible opportunity to meet and listen to many of the giants in our field. They not only made major advances in the radiation sciences over the last several decades, but also helped to sustain a critical mass of scientists that maintained the vitality of the Radiation Research Society (RRS). The future of our Society depends not only on our current members’ continued innovation and discovery in the radiation sciences, but also on our ability to build a community of scientists with expertise in radiation chemistry, physics and biology. We should foster interaction between these basic scientists, physician scientists and clinicians in radiation oncology and create a venue where they can share perspectives, debate ideas, and collaborate to advance radiation research together. At this time of rapid advances in scientific technology, which has enabled the application of genome editing and sophisticated animal models to radiation research, I have no doubt that the future for innovation and discovery in the radiation sciences is bright. However, I believe that there is a crisis of identity for some investigators, whose research or training is radiation-related, but who may not currently feel that they belong in the RRS. For example, a scientist who studies the interaction of radiation therapy with the immune system may primarily identify as an immunologist rather than a radiation biologist. Similarly, an investigator who studies normal tissue injury from radiation may primarily identify as a stem cell biologist. To begin to address this challenge, as a member of Council I have worked with Claudia Wiese to help establish the Early Career Investigator (ECI) interest 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 working to increase participation in RRS by a vibrant group of radiation oncology residents and junior independent physician scientists. These investigators are poised to make discoveries that will advance radiobiology and radiation medicine, but many are not currently connected to our Society. By focusing on Early Career Investigators who are already RRS members, as well as by increasing the participation of junior physician scientists in RRS, I believe that we can retain a critical mass of investigators as many of our Society’s most productive and influential members enter retirement. In addition, we need to reach out and encourage those investigators whose research includes a major component of radiation science, but who do not currently identify with RRS, to participate in our Society and in our annual meeting. By providing an annual meeting that combines stimulating science with the opportunity for radiation chemists, physicists, biologists, and oncologists to have interdisciplinary interactions, we will not only strengthen RRS, but also increase the cross-fertilization of ideas that will best advance radiation research. I have confidence that through these collaborations, we can make the most important scientific advances that will ultimately benefit society as we improve the use of radiotherapy to benefit cancer patients and limit radiation injury.


 Secretary-Treasurer Elect
              Edouard Azzam, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Biology

VISION STATEMENT:
The assets of our Society need to be maintained and enriched to effectively serve the programs of the Society and promote the training of new generation of radiation scientists. A strong and vibrant Radiation Research Society is a treasure to the various branches of the basic sciences and medicine. It is an asset that will continue to advise on policies that protect society and the
environment.
  Secretary-Treasurer Elect

Steven Swarts, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Chemistry

VISION STATEMENT:

The Radiation Research Society has been a steadfast cornerstone of the radiation research community because of the interdisciplinary nature of her members. Ever since I joined the Society in 1988 I have marveled at the scope and quality of the research, the exchange of ideas at the annual meetings, the candor and unreserved nature of opinions and insights that are expressed, and the fruitfulness of these discussions. What other research organizations have the richness of a truly interdisciplinary approach to meeting the many challenges we face today in regards to improving the therapeutic potential of radiation in cancer therapy, understanding and minimizing the deleterious effects of radiation, and supporting the research that drives these pursuits. I want to see this continue by assisting in the operations of the Society and, at the same time, also give back to the Society and those members who have supported me. Therefore, I am offering my services in the role as Secretary-Treasurer-Elect of the Society. In this role I shall facilitate the communications within the Society and provide oversight of the financial operations of the Society. Given the flat trend in revenues and increasing use of reserves for the Society’s operational and meeting costs I will exercise a conservative approach when preparing the operating budget of the Society and assessing the financial impact of policy decisions under consideration. This approach will be needed to insure the continued success of the missions of the Society, included among these are the operation of the Journal and sponsorship of the annual meeting. I will bring with me considerable experience in the roles of secretary and/or treasurer in self-government bodies at the University of Florida and community philanthropy organizations, in addition to managing the financial operations of large contract operations, to assist me in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of Secretary-Treasurer-Elect of the Society. 

  Councilor-at-Large

Amitava Adhikary, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Chemistry

VISION STATEMENT:
I became a Scholar-in-Training (SIT) member of the Radiation Research Society (RRS) in 2004. In 2005, I attended the 52nd Annual Meeting of RRS; it took place in Denver, Colorado; I was fascinated by the very friendly and open exchange of ideas as well as very insightful and positive critique by the members. Most importantly, I was highly impressed to see the interdisciplinary nature of the meeting, and of the members. I was invited to join as a member of the SIT committee to represent the Physics and Chemistry Pillars. I served the SIT committee until 1st September, 2011. As an SIT committee member, I have experienced the keen interest, and enthusiasm that a council member spends to educate the SIT members about the radiation research and also about the society. These made me realize that Radiation Research Society is the most suitable platform to showcase the richness of a truly interdisciplinary approach (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Medicine, Engineers, IT) for improving the therapeutic potential of radiation in cancer therapy and for understanding and minimizing the deleterious effects of radiation. 
If I am elected as a Councilor-at-Large, I would perform the following duties:
(a) Encourage RRS membership: To encourage RRS memberships so that a new member can avail themselves of the opportunities that the Society offers, especially within the venue of the annual meeting and also through publications in the Journal.
(b) Support participation of young members: I would encourage and support the participation of young members (undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows) as they will maintain the vitality of RRS. I will interact with the senior members to find out mechanisms by which support to young members can be arranged. Furthermore, I will attend the poster sessions and the platform presentations to ask questions, provide advice and share in the enthusiasm of these younger investigators.
(c) Work as a Liaison between the members and the council: As a Councilor-at-Large, I would interact with the members to know their opinions, their ideas to improve the Society, and find ways and means to serve the members even better. If I get elected, I would try my best to continue and insure the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the Society.
(d) Work to increase the visibility of the society: I find the continuing need to increase the visibility of the Society and the research of her members within other scientific communities. Therefore, I would work towards this objective through the invitation of those outside the radiation community to present or attend the meetings, and encourage members to present their research within other meeting venues. The Society is a unique gem in the research community; let us preserve it and make it known.

  Councilor-at-Large

Michael Dingfelder, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Physics

VISION STATEMENT:

Radiation Research is a 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 together their integrated combinations are powerful. 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 to contribute to 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

Chuan-Yuan Li, D.Sc.
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DISCIPLINE: Biology

VISION STATEMENT:
My association with the Society started in 1989 when I participated my first RRS meeting in New Orleans as a graduate student. RRS has been my home society since then. I firmly believe that the future of a successful and vibrant Radiation Research Society depends on its scientific excellence and active participation from talented young scientists. If elected as a Councilor-at-large, I will do my best to create opportunities for young scientists for them to participate and thrive within our Society. I will work with RRS scientists from different disciplines to achieve that goal.
  Councilor-at-Large

Jan Schuemann, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Multidisciplinary 

VISION STATEMENT
Our Society provides a unique opportunity to bring studies from physics, chemistry and biology together with clinical research and practice. Our annual meeting provides an inclusive platform for scientists from all fields to meet and mingle. I believe we can make the greatest advances by combining efforts from across our disciplines. The first RRS meeting I attended impressed me with the quality of the presented work and how easy it was to find colleagues who relate to my work, albeit from a different field. However, this eye-opening experience also overwhelmed me with the quantity of unfamiliar information and new topics. My goal would be to extend the enthusiasm I experienced during that first meeting, while facilitating participants to break more smoothly into unfamiliar topics. As Councilor-at-Large, I will uphold the society’s converging tradition, and through organizing more interdisciplinary sessions and workshops, both at our annual meeting as well as external meetings held by RRS-endorsed organizations, I wish to broaden the teaching/training opportunities to introduce participants to new topics. One of the missions of the RRS is the education of its members through the provision of an overview of the entirety of research under its umbrella, from basic sciences to translational research, from physics to biology. As Councilor-at-Large I aim to be an advocate for cross-disciplinary research and continue the educational functions of our society, in particular for SITs and ECIs.
  Councilor-at-Large

Zhiyuan Shen, MD, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Biology

VISION STATEMENT:
I joined RRS in 1991. I cannot emphasize enough how much I appreciate what RRS has offered to facilitate my own career development. Starting from my first attendance at the RRS annual meetings in the early 1990’s as a graduate student (Toronto and Salt Lake City) and, subsequently, interviewing for a postdoctoral position, to seeking advice from established scientists in my early years as an independent investigator, RSS has always been there for me. If elected as a RRS councilor, I will work diligently to ensure that RRS continues to serve as a breeding nest for scientific excellence and career booster for our members. RRS members have diverse scientific interests and I fully recognize the importance of this unique characteristics of our Society. I will work with colleagues to strengthen the communications among members, and to create opportunities for members with different, yet often complementary, scientific interests to interact closely. As someone who personally benefited greatly from RRS activities, I believe that a sustained success of the society relies on the recruitment and success of junior investigators. I will work to identify/foster meaningful platforms to benefit junior members.
 Councilor-at-Large
  Karla Thrall, PhD
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DISCIPLINE: Multidisciplinary 

VISION STATEMENT:
I have been a member of the Radiation Research Society since 2010 and am continually impressed by the quality of research and the colloquial nature of the annual meetings. What makes this society strong is the integration of multiple disciplines in biology, chemistry, physics and medicine, all of which are necessary to fully understand the field of radiation biology. In the aspect of public service, I have a personal commitment to mentoring and empowering others, and as Councilor, I will continue to energize current members, and encourage new members to capitalize on the benefits and opportunities during the annual meetings and other important RRS functions If elected, I will support the Society’s mission and objectives, actively listen to member opinions and ideas, and work diligently toward continual improvement of processes and dissemination of knowledge.
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