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2018 RRS Awards & Honors
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Failla Award: Francis A. Cucinotta, PhD

Professor, Department of Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Nevada Las Vegas


Dr. Francis A. Cucinotta is a Professor of Health Physics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dr. Cucinotta received his Doctorate degree in nuclear physics from Old Dominion University in 1988. He worked at NASA Johnson Space Center from 1997-2013 as the Radiological Health Officer, Space Radiation Project Manager and Chief Scientist. He developed the astronaut exposure data base of organ doses and cancer risk estimates for all human missions from Mercury to the International Space Station (ISS). He was NASA’s manager for construction and operations of the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) from 1999-2013. Dr. Cucinotta worked on radiation safety in NASA’s Mission Control Center for the Space Shuttle and ISS programs in 1989-1990, and 2000-2006. He has published over 350 peer-reviewed journal articles in a broad range of topical areas, including nuclear and space physics, track structure, biophysics models of DNA damage repair and neuronal effects, biodosimetry, radiation cataracts, and risk assessment models for cancer and acute health effects. Dr. Cucinotta is a past President of the Radiation Research Society (2013-2014), and a Council Member of the National Council of Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP).  

The Failla Award was established in 1962-1963 to honor the late Gioacchino Failla, one of the founding fathers of the Radiation Research Society and its second president. The award is given annually to an outstanding member of the radiation research community in recognition of a history of significant contributions to radiation research. Each year the RRS President presents the awardee with an engraved medallion and cash award.


Jack Fowler Award: Stephen McMahon, PhD, MS 

Queen’s University Research Fellow, Centre for Cancer Research & Cell Biology, Queen’s University Belfast

Dr McMahon received his MSci in Physics from Queen’s University Belfast, after which he undertook a PhD at Queen’s, studying the potential radiosensitising effects of gold nanoparticles in radiotherapy. This work investigated their effects on macroscopic dose as well as their nanoscale and biological effects. Following completion of his PhD, he took up a postdoctoral research position with Kevin Prise in the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s, focusing on applying mathematical and computational techniques to better understand radiation responses in a range of systems, with a particular focus on intercellular signalling.
In 2014, he was awarded a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship to work with the radiation physics group in Massachusetts General Hospital to develop mechanistic models of intrinsic radiation sensitivity, to seek to better understand and predict radiation responses in different systems.
In 2017, he took up a position as a Queen’s University Research Fellow at QUB, continuing his work on developing new predictive models of radiation sensitivity and applying them to better understand and optimise radiation therapy.

The Jack Fowler Award is provided by the University of Wisconsin to honor the achievements of Professor Jack Fowler. The award recognizes an outstanding junior investigator for exceptional work in radiation oncology, medical physics, and/or radiobiology. A candidate must be an outstanding junior investigator who has performed exceptional work in radiation oncology, medical physics, and/or radiobiology. Nominations for the Jack Fowler Award must include the candidate’s curriculum vitae, a nomination letter, and no more than two supporting letters.


Michael Fry Award: Jan Schuemann, PhD

Assistant Professor & Head of the Multi-scale Monte-Carlo Modeling Lab, Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School

Dr. Schuemann is a radiation bio-physicist specializing in Monte Carlo (MC) simulation research for proton therapy and radiobiology. After spending 10 years in experimental high-energy particle physics and neutrino physics in Germany, Taiwan and Japan, he transitioned to medical physics as a post-doctorate in 2010 joining the team at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston. Two years later, he joined the research team as Assistant Radiation Bio-Physicist at MGH and Instructor at HMS. In 2015, he started his current appointment as Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at MGH/HMS and Head of the Multi Scale MC Modeling Lab.

His research focuses on improving clinical treatment through the use of MC methods at multiple scales. At the macroscopic scale, he applies MC simulations to improve the accuracy of clinical dose and RBE distributions in patients. At the nanometer scale, he studies the biological effects of radiation on cell and sub-cellular components to better understand the underlying mechanisms of radiation effects with the goal to develop new ideas such as nanoparticle enhancement to improve radiation therapy outcome.

The intent is to recognize an individual early in his/her career, but not defined by any specific age. In keeping with the intent of the award, early in career is typically considered to be within 10 years of completion of training (e.g., post-doc, residency, fellowship). A candidate is not required to be a member of the Society, but the work upon which the nomination is based must be in one or more of the areas of radiation research.


SIT Excellence in Mentorship: Mostafa Waleed Gaber, PhD 

Associate Professor Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine
Co-Director of the TCH Small Animal Imaging Facility, Texas Children's Hospital

M. Waleed Gaber graduated from Ain-Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, received his PhD in Physics from University College London, UK, then Masters of Bioengineering from the University of Tennessee (UTHSC), Memphis. He completed his postdoctoral in radiotherapy at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, was hired as an Assistant Professor at UTHSC, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. He holds adjunct faculty appointments in the Departments of Molecular Physiology at Baylor, Psychology at the University of Houston, as well Bioengineering at Rice University. His program combines imaging and cognitive studies to improve understanding of the CNS side effects of therapeutic cranial radiation as well as whole body exposure. He was the course director of eight graduate and seven undergraduate courses. He received the Excellence in Teaching Award while at UTHSC. He has mentored 21 technicians, graduate students, postdoctoral/clinical fellows, and junior faculty.


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



Marie Curie AwardAllyson Koyen 

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT: PhD Candidate, Cancer Biology Program, Emory University


Allyson Koyen received her B.S. in biological sciences in 2012 from Carnegie Mellon University. After graduation she worked at the National Cancer Institute at the NIH as a postbacculaureate research fellow. Allyson is currently pursuing a PhD in cancer biology at Emory University, under the supervision of Dr. David Yu. The Yu lab focuses their research on how cells respond to DNA replication stress and damage and how this dysregulation leads to development of disease, including cancer. Allyson's dissertation focuses on identifying proteins that mediate chemotherapy resistance in small cell lung cancer, understanding the roles proteins play in the DNA damage response, and using this knowledge to develop improved therapeutic targets for small cell lung cancer patients. 

The Marie Curie Award was established to recognize the Scholars-in-Training travel award applicant showing the highest potential for a successful career in radiation research. The recipient is then invited to speak at the annual meeting.



J.W. Osborne Award: Amrita Cheema, PhD

Professor, Departments of Oncology and Biochemistry; Co-Director: Waters Center of Innovation in Metabolomics, Georgetown University Medical Center


Amrita Cheema, PhD, is a professor of Oncology and Biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center. She also co-directs the Waters Center of Innovation in Metabolomics at GUMC. Her extramurally funded research program is focused on delineating small molecule biomarkers that are predictive of exposure to ionizing radiation as well for adverse outcomes of radiotherapy. Her laboratory has also developed several tools and workflows for furthering metabolomics based molecular phenotyping for clinical and translational research. Amrita’s work has been documented in more than 40 peer reviewed publications and 5 biomarker patents.

The J.W. Osborne Award honors an RRS member who has contributed significantly to the understanding of normal tissue radiation responses. The recipient of the “Osborne Award” should ideally be a mid-career scientist and a member of the RRS in good standing. Candidates for the Osborne Award are nominated by the membership of the Society, and the selection will be made by the Awards and Honors Committee. Nominations should consist of a nomination letter, the candidate’s curriculum vitae, and no more than two supporting letters.


Radiation Research Editors' Award: 2018 Katherine Morel, PhD

Researcher at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard University


Dr. Katherine Morel received her Ph.D. in radiation and cancer biology from Flinders University in 2017 under the mentorship of Prof. Pamela Sykes. Her research interests are focused on prostate cancer, spanning basic mechanistic molecular biology and pre-clinical studies, with a view to impacting patient treatment and well-being. Dr. Morel’s research at Flinders University explored the potential for a drug, dimethylaminoparthenolide (DMAPT), to act as a simultaneous radioprotector of normal tissue and radiosensitizer of tumour tissue during prostate cancer treatment. Dr. Morel was awarded the 2018 Flinders University Vice Chancellor’s Award for Doctoral Thesis Excellence for her post-graduate research. Following the completion of her Ph.D., Dr. Morel moved to Boston to take up a postdoctoral research position at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard University and is currently working with Dr. Christopher Sweeney and Dr. Leigh Ellis to identify novel therapeutic strategies for aggressive prostate cancer.

The Editors’ Award honors a RRS Scholar-in-Training who has published an outstanding paper in Radiation Research.



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