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2015 RRS Awards & Honors
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Failla Award: Dr. Albert Fornace, Jr.

Primary Appointment: Professor, Molecular Cancer Research Chair
at Georgetown University, Department of BioChemistry and Molecular Biology

Bio Statement:
Albert J. Fornace Jr., MD, is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology at Georgetown University, and is the first recipient of the Molecular Cancer Research Chair at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Before joining Georgetown in 2006, he was the director of the John B. Little Center for the Radiation Sciences and Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Previously he led the Gene Response Section at NCI.

He is an internationally recognized expert in stress-signaling mechanisms and is in the top 0.5% of cited authors in the life sciences. He was also ranked in the top 30 cell-cycle researchers ( while at NCI. His research has encompassed many areas of cell and tissue injury with particular relevance to radiobiology, as well as to toxicology, carcinogenesis, genomic instability, and immune diseases.

Research has included discovery of some of the first radiation-inducible genes including the gadd gene group of growth-arrest and DNA-damage inducible genes. His laboratory showed that several of these genes showed attenuated ionizing radiation responses in ATM-deficient cells, and helped to define the ATM pathway. This led to the landmark paper in collaboration with Mike Kastan’s group where they demonstrated the radiation-responsive ATM-p53-Gadd45a pathway, and showed for the first time that p53 could bind and induce a cellular gene. This was followed by a large series of important reports by their laboratories and others that elucidated the major contribution of p53 as a transcription factor in its role as a ‘guardian of the genome.’ Fornace’s research has shown that stress-related signals inside the cell alter the expression of multiple genes involved in cell-cycle control, programmed cell death, and DNA damage processing. His laboratory has contributed to our understanding of the key roles for important stress-signaling pathways in cancer prevention as well as their perturbations that contribute to tumor development after exposure to radiation or other genotoxicants. His carcinogenesis studies have been extended to high-energy ion radiation where he leads a NASA Specialized Center Of Research (NSCOR) in gastrointestinal carcinogenesis.

In addition to his research on the molecular pathways of radiation-induced cancer, Fornace has also studied cellular stress responses at broader levels. His laboratory was the first in collaboration with Jeff Trent’s group to assess genome-wide responses to radiation using a transcriptomics approach. His omics studies have more recently been extended to the small molecule level, i.e. metabolomics, and his team along with collaborators including Frank Gonzalez’s laboratory have developed the field of radiation metabolomics. An important practical focus is the ongoing development of metabolomic biomarkers that can be used to assess radiation injury such as after a radiologic or nuclear event. Fornace currently directs the Waters Center of Innovation for Metabolomics at Georgetown.


Michael Fry Award: Ester Hammond

Primary Appointment: Associate Professor at Oxford University

Bio Statement:
Dr Ester Hammond is a Cancer Research UK Senior Group Leader and an Associate Professor at the CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology within the Department of Oncology at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on DNA damage signalling pathways and the tumour micro-environment. Dr Hammond has a BSc (Hons) in Molecular Biology from the University of Manchester and completed her PhD at the CRC Institute for Cancer Studies within the University of Birmingham. She then accepted a post as a postdoctoral fellow within the Molecular Oncology Group at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine before moving to the USA to join the Department of Radiation Oncology at Stanford University, first as a postdoctoral fellow then a research associate.

Dr Hammond took up her current post in Oxford in 2007 and was presented with The ESTRO-Varian Juliana Denekamp Award 2011 for "having demonstrated excellence and passion for biologically driven cancer research for radiation oncology". She is a member of several professional organisations including the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO), the Association for Radiation Research (ARR), the Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research Working Group (CTRad), and the British Institute of Radiology (BIR). She has authored or co-authored over 30 publications and been invited to present her work at national and international conferences.

Marie Curie Award: Natsuko Miura

Primary Appointment
Postdoctoral Fellow, Radiation Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute

Bio Statement:

A native of Kyoto, Japan, Dr. Natsuko Miura earned her BS in Applied Microbiology and her PhD in Molecular Biology from Kyoto University. During her graduate studies in the laboratory of Dr. Mitsuyoshi Ueda, she investigated the spatial reorganization of metabolic enzymes in S. cerevisiae as one of the causes for accelerated glycolysis under hypoxic conditions. She also worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Takashi Nakagawa at University of Toyama, studying the incorporation and metabolism of NAD precursors in response to oxidative stress.

She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Radiation Oncology Branch of the National Cancer Institute, studying real-time cancer cell metabolism in response to radiation therapy utilizing 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. She would like to thank her current mentor, Dr. Aparna Kesarwala, as well as Dr. Murali Krishna, Dr. James Mitchell, Dr. Kevin Camphausen, and her colleagues at the NCI for their support. She is greatly honored to receive the Marie Curie Award and would like to express her gratitude to the Radiation Research Society.


Jack Fowler Award: Dr. Shankar Siva

Primary Appointment
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Bio Statment:
Dr Shankar Siva is a Radiation Oncologist and co-ordinates the Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy (SABR) program at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Australia. He is an NHMRC scholar, and concurrently completing a PhD with Molecular Radiation Biology (Martin) Laboratory. He published the first original research from Australia regarding the use of the SABR technique. He presently leads several clinical trials at the Peter Mac and at a national level and has a specific interest in the treatment of lung and kidney cancers, and has research interests in high-tech radiotherapy delivery, radiation biology and radiation immunology.

  J.W. Osborne Award:
Dr. Marie-Catherine Vozenin

Primary Appointment:
The Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois-département d'Oncologie

Bio Statement
Specialist in translational research in Radiotherapy, Dr MC Vozenin heads the Radiobiology laboratory of the CHUV, Oncology Department, Lausanne, Switzerland since January 2013. Her research group now in Lausanne was initially located at Institut Gustave Roussy, InsermU1030 in France and develops novel approaches to enhance Radiation Therapy therapeutic index, from the combination with biotherapies to medical innovation using novel modalities of irradiation. Dr MC Vozenin first research axis investigates the physiopathological and molecular basis of the complications of radiotherapy. This work started more than 15 years ago and her pioneer work on the Rho/ROCK pathway provided the biological basis for transfer of a new anti-fibrotic strategy into the clinic. Her project now focuses on thorax complication of radiotherapy i) lung fibrosis and ii) heart toxicities. The second is an innovative axis of research in radiation therapy field and involves a novel radiotherapy modality using ultra high dose rate. The third studied the radio-sensitivity of HPV-positive tumors has also lead to two clinical trials out of the research performed in her lab.

Dr MC Vozenin, has published69 scientific articles (H index=21) and her national and international standing got her to be involved the main radiobiology programs. At the European level, she is member since 2011 of the Radiobiology committee at ESTRO (European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology) and part of the teaching staff. She is regularly invited as speaker at European meetings and as teacher. Her research has been and is currently supported by French, Swiss and EU funds: (InCa, ARC, Labex-Lermit, Inserm, Fond`action, FNS, Cardiorisk). Outside of Europe, she was elected at the Council of the International Association for Radiation Research (2007-2011); Approached by IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to be involved in the first Collaborative Research Project on Stem cell and irradiation; Invited speaker at Radiation Research/ASTRO (USA) and ICRR (International Congress of Radiation Research) and member of ICRR scientific committee, Collaborates with several academic laboratories in the USA (Pr M Hauer-Jensen, Pr Bruce Riser), in the UK (Pr Yarnold) and Australia (Pr M McKay).

  Radiation Research Editors Award:
Dr. Maryam Goudarzi

Primary Appointment:
Junior Faculty Member at Georgetown University's Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology Department

Bio Statement

Dr. Goudarzi is a junior faculty member at Georgetown University’s (GU) Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology department and an accomplished analytical chemist. She graduated from George Mason University with a PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2011. She has more than 9 years of experience in analyzing samples by mass spectrometry in proteomic, metabolomic and microbiome studies.
Maryam’s focus at GU is developing mass spectrometry application of metabolomics and lipidomics to study radiation-induced in-vivo injury responses. Metabolomics and lipidomics, which combine small-molecule chemistry, biology, mass spectrometry, and high-end informatics, are fast-moving fields. Maryam has employed the latest advances in these fields to establish robust responses in easily accessible biofluids to various radiation exposures. In particular, she has studied specific metabolic perturbations and non-enzymatic oxidation of lipids in the biofluids of mice after external beam g-ray exposures as wall as internal exposures to 137Cs and 90Sr. She has further explored the effects of dose rate and metabolomic responses to γ-irradiation. She is also interested in assessment of changes in the concentration of host and microbial metabolites, particularly gut micribiome, triggered by radiation exposure. Development of metabolomic signatures to various types of radiation exposure, which may occur during a radiologic or nuclear emergency, is a critical component for their application in radiation biodosimetry. At the mechanistic level, changes in small molecule levels contributes to a fuller understanding of the physiologic effects of radiation injury.


SIT Excellence in Mentorship:
Sandra Demaria

Primary Appointment
Professor of Pathology and Radiation Oncology: New York University School of Medicine

Bio Statement

Sandra Demaria, a native of Turin, Italy, is Professor of Pathology and Radiation Oncology at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine in New York City. She served as co-leader of the Cancer Immunology program of NYU Cancer Institute, and Scientific Director of the Immune Monitoring Core. She is also an attending pathologist in the breast cancer service. Her work has been focused on understanding the mechanisms whereby ionizing radiation modulates tumor immunogenicity, and exploiting this property of radiation to improve the response to immunotherapy. She is internationally known for her studies demonstrating the synergy of local radiation therapy with different immunotherapy agents in pre-clinical models of cancer. Her laboratory was the first to show that radiotherapy can convert tumors unresponsive to immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors into responsive ones, a finding currently being translated in several clinical trials. Together with clinical investigator Dr. Silvia Formenti she is studying the immunological mechanisms of response to radiation and immunotherapy in patients. As a pathologist, Dr. Demaria has also investigated the immunological microenvironment of cancer in patients and she is a funding member of an international tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TILs)-working group focused on developing a consensus for the evaluation of TILs in breast cancer. Dr. Demaria has a strong commitment to teaching and education, and has trained several undergraduate and graduate students, residents and fellows over the years. She served as a member of the Radiation Research Society (RRS) Education and Training Committee from 2010 to 2013, and the Chair of the Council for Immunotherapy Education & Outreach of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) from 2013 to 2014. She was elected to serve as RRS Council member from 2009 to 2012, and was the Chair of the RRS Membership Committee from 2010 to 2012. Additional leadership positions in national professional societies include the election to SITC Board (2014-2017), and the appointment as a member of the AACR Steering Committee of the Cancer Immunology Working Group (2015-2017).

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