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News & Press: SIT Newsletter

SIT Newsletter: May 2019

Tuesday, April 30, 2019  
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May 2
Deadline for SIT Excellence in Mentorship Nominations
(Nomination link below)

June 6

Abstract Submission & Travel Award Application Deadline

July 1
Travel Award Notifications & Poster Acceptance Notifications

Postdoctoral Fellow- Open Positions
Rice University Dept. of Bioengineering
Houston, TX
More Information

Assistant Professor (tenure track)
Rice University Dept. of Bioengineering
Houston, TX
More Information

Postdoctoral Fellow- Neurobiology/Developmental Biology
University of Texas
San Antonio, TX
More Information

Assistant Instructor- Biological Sciences
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI
More Information

Curriculum Fellow for Online Learning- Immunology
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA
More Information

Scientist- Molecular Biology
10X Genomics
Pleasanton, CA
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Scientist- Research & Early Development

San Francisco, CA
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Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Texas at MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX
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Assistant Professor (tenure-track)
Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School
Newark, NJ
More Information

Postdoctoral Position- Molecular Imaging and Therapy
University of California
San Francisco, CA
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Postdoctoral Position- Radiation Oncology
University of California
San Francisco, CA
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Computational Biologist - Institute Research Investigator
University of Texas at MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX
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Assistant Instructor - Biological Sciences
BioSci Program Teaching Team at Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI
More Information


ESTRO 38 Annual Conference
Milan, Italy
April 26-30, 2019
11th Annual Radiogenomics Consortium Meeting
Rochester, NY
June 18-19, 2019

16th International Congress on Radiation Research

Manchester, UK
August 25-29, 2019

ASTRO's 61st Annual Meeting
Chicago, IL
September 15-18, 2019
65th Annual RRS Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 2-6, 2019
5th International Symposium on the System of Radiological Protection
Adelaide, Australia
November 19-21, 2019
Tien Tang- Biology

Jason Domogauer- Medicine
Nicholas Colangelo -Medicine/Biology
James McEvoy - Biology
Ryan Jonathan Wei - Medicine
Jade Moore- Multidisciplinary
Britta Langen- Biology
Brian Canter- Biology
Julie Constanzo- BioPhysics
Calvin Leung- Medicine/Biology
Rutul Patel- Pharmacology
Alexandra Taraboletti-Biology

Dear SIT members,

In the past when I visited labs, I am often asked to counsel PhD students with my postdoc experiences. Have you ever wondered what the role of a postdoc is in a lab? Ok, let’s be clear…the role apart from the famous “publish or perish” one I mean!

So I asked myself in what ways may/must postdocs contribute to PhD student mentoring. As you probably all faced in your PhD, your supervisor won’t be able to find extra time to help you with your CV, your research of potential postdoc fellowships, award applications and all the other tips that you really need for the next step. Therefore, Scholar-in-Training (SITs) at each level have to stick together and share as much as possible.

I am lucky to be surrounded by great PIs, who offered to help with grant writing, budgeting, lab management, and reviewing papers. They also inspired me to mentor students— all of these are transferable skills that can be used in many career paths. That's why PhD students and postdocs should seek out resources that can enhance the mentor-mentee relationship and utilize them.

Briefly, PhD students, you must prepare yourself as early as possible whether you want to pursue an academic postdoc:

● Find your postdoc-mentor to guide you: she/he will help you to avoid
   pitfalls as she/he knows the most recent rules
● Take time (the earlier the better) to think what makes you unique? How to
   stand out before the end of your PhD?
● Create/Update your CV at least 6 months before your defense (and
   update it regularly) (outline suggestions: education and work summary,
   honors and relevant experiences (e.g. poster jury, teaching, etc.),
   publications, presentations), as well as your LinkedIn and ResearchGate
● Make a list of what new skills you wish to develop during your postdoc.
   Remember not to start in a completely new subject, but still, enhance
   your creativity by learning new techniques or by doing what you are the
   best in a complementary field (ex: try more physics if you are biologist)
   and remember that the postdoc is the time where your own ideas will
● Then, make another list with the corresponding labs/universities/institute
   where you can do it
● Try to reach your shortlist of PIs, apply in their lab (even without job
   offering), offer to take an internship for a few weeks or months (here is an
   example of Travel Fellowships), and find a way to meet them in person
   because enthusiasm is a major key in recruiting young postdocs! Show
   them how you are motivated! Important tips to keep in mind when you
   send an email to a PI: 1) get straight to the point, they don’t have time to
   read more than 3 sentences, and 2) worldwide PhD students do the
   same...Give your best!

Finally, for me and for many PIs, the postdoc is/was the best time of our career! We all struggled (more or less) during our PhD, writing our first articles, the manuscript, etc. But postdoc is only about science and enjoying all the progress you made, living in a new country, meeting great people and creating your own future!

Go get it!

Julie Constanzo, PhD
SIT Committee Member

We are also on Facebook! Check out the SIT Facebook group.
Last January, I attended a workshop in Brussels entitled Medical radioisotopes in the future: European perspective. The workshop brought together key stakeholders in the radioisotopes supply chain, to discuss future potential methods of supply for medical radioisotopes and technical feasibility, and how to address the challenges.
Currently medical radioisotopes are mainly used for diagnostics purposes, however research is advancing on other radioisotopes to introduce new therapies and treatments for a range of health conditions. Industry is advancing with the identification of alternative non-fission methods of production, such as accelerators. The workshop gathered Member States, European institutions, regulators, industry, professional and specialist groups and research organizations, as well as patients and other citizens' interests. For more information, please follow the link.

Let’s begin with the example of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is the most widely used isotope in nuclear medicine diagnostic applications, accounting for around 90% of all radioisotopes used. It corresponds to ≈ 35 million annual examinations worldwide, among which about 9 million in Europe. Europe is the second largest consumer of Tc-99m, accounting for 22% of global market (after the United States – 44%), followed by Japan - 14%, and the rest of the world - 20%. Tc-99m demand is rising worldwide due to the ageing population of Europe and North America, and the growing use of the isotope in emerging countries [1].

Quick reminder, the Tc-99m is a gamma emitter with a half-life of 6 hours, allowing for scanning procedures which collect data rapidly and keep total patient radiation exposures low. Nice you would think! However, the short half-life presents a problem in terms of a reliable supply chain since Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99)/Tc-99m cannot be stockpiled. To allow a more practical arrangement, the supply of Tc-99m is provided by producing Mo-99, which decays into Tc-99m with a half-life of 66 hours. The parent isotope - Mo-99 is produced in a limited number of nuclear research reactors by irradiation of uranium targets… Ok, let's be brief and cut the part obtaining the final product! For more information, you can refer to Molybdenum-99 for Medical Imaging (doi: 10.17226/23563).

So what is the problem? To the best of my knowledge, only seven government-owned nuclear research reactors provide about 95% of the world’s Mo-99 production: the NRU reactor in Canada, the HFR reactor in The Netherlands, the BR2 reactor in Belgium, the OSIRIS reactor in France, the SAFARI reactor in South Africa, since 2010 the MARIA reactor in Poland and the REZ reactor in Czech Republic. Several other smaller reactors provide local and regional supplies with no major influence on the global market.

Almost all the above-listed reactors are over 40 years old and are approaching the end of their life span (see: NRU reactor enters retirement), requiring an increased need for planned maintenance cycles and a growing frequency of unplanned production interruptions. As a result, global supply of radioisotopes became more fragile in recent years. Consequently, since June 2012 the European Commission and stakeholders established a European Observatory on the Supply of Medical Radioisotopes [2], aimed at bringing together all relevant information to the decision makers in the EU institutions and national governments in order to assist them in defining strategies and policies for their implementation.

Since then, it may have a better situation with 99Mo by increasing production and projects in Europe toward eliminating use of highly enriched uranium. The discussion was for example about 99mTc produced with 20-30 MeV protons, which is a very well-known technique .

Finally, other radionuclides have been scrutinized, and to mention only one for therapeutic purpose this time: Actinium-225 (Targeted Alpha Therapy) currently used in several clinical trial in chemotherapy-naive patients with advanced prostate cancer (see for e.g. doi: 10.1007/s00259-018-4167-0). But this is another story, with yet other underlying supply chain issues, perhaps for a future newsletter.

To be continued…

If you want a particular topic or issue addressed in this section, please feel free to reach out to me via email at!

Julie Constanzo, PhD
SIT Committee Member

The award is bestowed each year by the Scholar-In-Training Committee. It honors an individual who has provided exceptional mentoring to a SIT member in both their professional and personal aspirations.

The SIT committee is now accepting nominations for the SIT Excellence in Mentorship Award. Many of us have had the experience that good mentorship is mandatory for a sound career development. If you believe your mentor deserves recognition for his/her work in guiding early career scientists, please send a nomination letter detailing your nominee and their contributions for consideration to Keep in mind that a mentor can be nominated by multiple people. We look forward to receiving your nominations.

In this regard, the SIT committee released a brief overview of what good mentorship can mean, which is, e.g., important when searching for a new training position in the field of Radiation Research. The compilation was based on the input we received in previous mentorship award nominations, where we were overwhelmed by the wide span of aspects brought up. 

Nominations will be accepted until Thursday May 2, 2019.

For your reference, the previous award winners are listed below:
2006 – Joel Bedford
2008 – John Zimbrick
2009 – Frederick Domann
2010 – Doug Boreham
2011 – Al Fornace
2012 – Nils Cordes
2014 – Brian Marples
2015 – Sandra Demaria
2016 – Mark Dewhirst
2017 – Edouard Azzam
2018 – Mostafa Waleed Gaber

We also remind you to Register for the Radiation Research Society Annual Meeting and Submit an Abstract. Similar to last year, approximately 50% of the speakers for the oral sessions will come from top scoring abstracts. I encourage you and your colleagues to submit an abstract of your most exciting science so that you can further enhance the quality of what promises to be an outstanding scientific program. Hope to see you there!

Tien Tang
2019 SIT Committee Chair, Radiation Research Society
Shingledecker C, Vasyunin A, Herbst E, Caselli P On Simulating the Proton-Irradiation of O2and H2O Ices Using Astrochemical-type Models, with Implications for Bulk Reactivity, Astrophysical 2019, arXiv:1904.04143 [astro-ph.GA]

Do you know of any SIT publications? Please let us know!
Antibodies Travel Grants Program
Application Deadline: Quarterly
ASTRO Funding Opportunities
ASTRO funds research in radiation biology, cancer biology and radiation physics. Funding opportunities are available for junior faculty and residents.

Proposal Central
Database of foundation, non-profits and organizations grants
Do you know of any other funding sources? Please let us know!
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