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2020 RRS Awards & Honors
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Failla Award: Marco Durante, PhD

Award Lecture - Monday, October 19, 2020  |  4:00pm EDT

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT: Biophysics Department, Director, GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research, Planckstrasse 1, Darmstadt, Germany

Dr. Durante got his Ph.D. in physics in 1992 at the University Federico II in Naples, Italy, and has then worked as postdoctoral students at NASA and NIRS (Japan). He has dedicated his career to the biophysics of high-energy charged particles, with applications in cancer therapy and space radiation protection. He is generally recognized as world leader in the field of heavy ion radiobiology and medical physics and is co-author of over 400 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and one patent in proton therapy. He worked for many years on charged particle biodosimetry in astronauts and cancer patients, heavy ion shielding, and new applications of particle therapy in oncology and noncancer diseases (heart arrhythmia). He has been awarded several prizes for his contributions to charged particle biophysics, including the 8th Warren K. Sinclair Award of NCRP, the 2013 IBA-Europhysics Award for Applied Nuclear Science and Nuclear Methods in Medicine (European Physics Society), and the 2013 Bacq & Alexander award of the European Radiation Research Society.

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.


Jack Fowler Award: Julie Constanzo, PhD 

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT: Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Institut de Recherche en Cancérologie de Montpellier (IRCM), INSERM, France

Dr. Julie Constanzo is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Pr. J-P. Pouget’s Laboratory at Institut de Recherche en Cancérologie de Montpellier (IRCM), France. She obtained her PhD in Physics and Radiobiology from Université Claude Bernard, Lyon (France) in November 2013, consisting in implementing a proton beamline platform (the Radiograaff platform), which she used to conduct proton irradiations and calibrate doses for radiobiological studies. Shortly thereafter (January 2014), she joined Pr. B. Paquette laboratory at the Université de Sherbrooke (Canada), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Nuclear Medicine and Radiobiology as Postdoctoral Fellow. Her work involved the optimization of radiotherapy treatments for brain cancer. Based on robust dosimetric methodology, the project consisted in extracting quantitative information from brain anatomical images and associating them with preclinical evaluation criteria, such as necrosis, behavioral changes, and immune infiltrates in response to radiation. In January 2016, Dr. Constanzo joined the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) at Université de Strasbourg (France) as postdoctoral researcher, where she developed a 25 MeV proton beamline to achieve clinical LET of interest for in vivo and in vitro radiobiological studies.

With her experience in radiation physics, dosimetry and hadron radiobiology, she joined the research team Radiobiology and Targeted Radiotherapy led by Pr. J-P Pouget (IRCM, Inserm U1194) in May 2018. This research team is multidisciplinary, and brings together biologists, physicists, radiochemists and nuclear physicians. Dr. Constanzo is currently developing research at the crossroads of physics and biology that suits her background. She is particularly interested in the study of targeted and non-targeted effects induced by high LET radiation (Auger and alpha emitters) in the context of targeted radionuclide therapy. The overall aim of her research is to understand better the radiobiological mechanisms that explain dose-response problems in terms of toxicity and efficacy. This will ultimately help to select patients better: find the right responders and identify those at risk of toxicity. In addition to the purely radiative effects, Dr. Julie Constanzo is studying non-targeted effects caused by intercellular communication (so-called bystander effects). As well as this, she is investigating the involvement of the immune system (systemic effect) in the therapeutic response, which is now the main focus of Dr. Constanzo’s research project.


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.


Michael Fry Award: Igor Shuryak, PhD
Award Lecture - Tuesday, October 20, 2020  |  3:40pm EDT

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT: Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, Center for Radiological Research (CRR) Department of Radiation Oncology, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York

Igor Shuryak, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology in the Center for Radiological Research (CRR), Department of Radiation Oncology, Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CIUMC). His previous training and experience have been interdisciplinary, starting with biology (BA from Columbia University, 2001) and medicine (MD from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, 2010). He received a PhD degree with distinction from the department of Environmental Health Sciences (Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, 2010). Dr. Shuryak’s research focuses on quantitative modeling of a variety of biological effects of ionizing radiation. In particular, he works on modeling and prevention of radiation-induced carcinogenesis, radioresistance, non-targeted “bystander” effects, and quantification of the risks of cancer and other diseases in patients exposed to ionizing radiation during therapeutic or diagnostic medical procedures or other settings (e.g. space flight). This work relies on implementation of applied mathematics, programming, statistics and machine learning.

The Michael Fry Award recognizes an individual early in his/her career with exceptional accomplishments in radiation research. 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.


J.W. Osborne Award: Cullen Taniguchi, MD, PhD
Award Lecture - Wednesday, October 21, 2020  |  1:30pm EDT

Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology, GI Section, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

Dr. Taniguchi is an Associate Professor at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, with a joint appointment in Radiation Oncology and Experimental Radiation Oncology.  He is a physician scientist specializing in gastrointestinal malignancies, with a clinical and research focus on pancreatic cancer.  His laboratory studies hypoxia biology in the context of the tumor microenvironment and regenerative medicine to improve the therapeutic ratio of therapies for pancreatic cancer. For instance, the Taniguchi laboratory discovered that a key regulatory enzyme of hypoxia, the EGLN prolyl hydroxylases can reduce radiation toxicity sufficiently to enable higher, and potentially ablative doses of radiation to tumors when surgery is not possible. Dr. Taniguchi is the lead PI of a multicenter Phase I/II trial that tested this concept in the clinic (NCT03340974), using a superoxide dismutase mimetic, GC4419, which closed after meeting its endpoints in May 2020.  As an outshoot of their initial studies in hypoxia, the Taniguchi lab also discovered that the FDA-approved arthritis drug, leflunomide, has strong in vivo activity against pancreatic cancer by exploiting fundamental differences in mitochondrial dynamics and metabolism that are not critical for normal tissues.  The lab also studies the crosstlak between the microbiome and cancers of the GI tract and has an open Phase I trial examining whether altering the microbiome with a live biotherapeutic can enhance immune responses along with hypofractionated radiation (NCT04193904). Together, these studies rely on knowledge of both normal tissue niches and tumor biology to develop and translate novel pancreatic cancer therapeutics.

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 award  “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: Kristofer Michalson, DVM, PhD, DACVM


PRIMARY APPOINTMENT: Director, Translational Veterinary Medicine, Gene Therapy Program, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Kristofer Michalson received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2014 , and his Ph . D . in Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology from Wake Forest School of Medicine in 2018 .  During his graduate training, Kristofer’s research focused on the adverse structural and functional effects of total body irradiation on the heart in non-human primates. Kristofer is an author on 10 peer-reviewed scientific publications and 10 abstract/poster presentations at national and international meetings. In his current role at the University of Pennsylvania’s Gene Therapy Program (GTP ), Kristofer provides leadership, guidance, and support to internal and external investigators in the design, execution, interpretation and reporting of pre-clinical GLP and non-GLP studies to support submissions of Investigational New Drug/Biological Licensing Applications to domestic and international health authorities for the treatment of inherited genetic diseases.

The Radiation Research Society has established an award to be given each year to a Scholar-in-Training (SIT) who has published an outstanding paper in Radiation Research. This year’s award will be given for a paper published in 2019 (volumes 191 and 192). The recipient of this award will receive a $1,000 to attend the 66th Annual Meeting of the Radiation Research Society and waived registration for the meeting. The recipient will also be recognized at the Annual Meeting.


Marie Curie Award: TBA




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 invited to speak at the annual meeting.



SIT Excellence in Mentorship: TBA



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.



  Distinguished Service: Tom Hei, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT: Professor and Vice-chair of Radiation Oncology, Associate Director of the Center for Radiological Research and Professor Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York

Dr. Tom K. Hei received his undergraduate training (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and his graduate degree in experimental pathology from Case Western Reserve University. He has been on the faculty of Columbia University since 1983. His laboratory has made seminal contributions towards our understanding of the mechanisms of radiation and environmental carcinogenesis. He was a panel member of the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in reviewing the NIOSH Roadmap for Research on Mineral Fibers as well as a member of the National Academy of Sciences task force to review the NASA evidence report on radiation carcinogenesis. Dr. Hei was elected Educator of the Year by the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology in 2012. He has received many awards and recognitions including the Professional Achievement Award from the Organization of Chinese Americans in 2008, the Roentgen Lecture Award in 2010, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Wisconsin and an honorary D.Sc. degree from Amity University in India in 2017. He is the past president of the Radiation Research Society and has many years of experience in mentoring doctoral, medical, clinical radiation oncology residents and postdoctoral research fellows. Since 1995, Dr. Hei has served as a chairman and as a panel member in many NIH peer review panels and has published more than 280 peer-reviewed articles, many in high impact journals. 

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CRITERIA: The Distinguished Service Award shall be given to an RRS member or non-member to recognize continued service conducted beyond the call of duty to further the goals and objectives of the Society.

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