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.
Failla Award Criteria:
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.
Dr. Rutul Patel is a Postdoctoral Associate in Dr. David Kirsch's laboratory at Duke University. He came to the United States in 2007 to pursue a Master of Science in Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics at Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. After completing his MS, he worked in the field of cancer and radiation biology for four years before starting a PhD program at Case Western Reserve University. He obtained a PhD in Pharmacology in 2019. During his PhD dissertation, he worked on a project funded by NASA evaluating Galactic Cosmic Radiation effects on hematopoietic stem cell functions and hematopoietic malignancies in in vivo mouse model. His work led to four first-author research articles and one first-author review article publication. Throughout his career, he presented his work at national and international conferences, for which he received several presentations and travel awards. Currently, Dr. Patel evaluates the potential beneficial impact of immune checkpoint blockade therapy on the standard of care therapy for high-risk localized sarcomas in a primary mouse model. The goal is to access how reliable a primary model of soft-tissue sarcoma to predict clinical outcomes and understand the mechanism of an abscopal effect.
Marie Curie Award Criteria:
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.
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.
Michael Fry Award Criteria:
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.
Dr. Taniguchi was a Rhodes Scholar who earned his MD PhD at Harvard Medical School, then completed a residency and research fellowship in Radiation Oncology at Stanford University as a Holman Pathway Fellow. Dr. Taniguchi is now 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 treating 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), and recently 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 has funded research on the intersection between hypoxia, the microbiome, and cancers of the GI tract using shotgun sequencing approaches and has an open Phase I trial examining whether altering the microbiome with alive biotherapeutic can enhance immune responses along with hypofractionated radiation(NCT04193904). ogether, these studies rely on knowledge of both normal tissue niches and tumor biology to develop and translate novel pancreatic cancer therapeutics.
J.W. Osborne Award Criteria:
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.