October 3, 2008

VICC researchers land radiation oncology awards

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Medical Records’ Donte Carter gets his flu vaccine at Occupational Health’s tent on the plaza in front of Eskind Biomedical Library. (photo by Susan Urmy)

VICC researchers land radiation oncology awards

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's Department of Radiation Oncology has received four awards for research excellence by medical residents, presented at this year's combined conference of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology (ASTRO) and the Radiation Research Society in Boston.

Chris Willey, M.D., Ph.D., received this year's Junior Faculty Research Training Award, a two-year award of $125,000 per year, which is designed to stimulate interest in radiation research early in a faculty member's academic career.

Roberto Diaz, M.D., received the Basic Science Research Award, which is given to only one resident nationwide. He was recognized for using radiation to guide drug delivery in cancer.

Jerry Jaboin, M.D., was recognized for research on drug delivery systems in treating cancer and Eddy Yang, M.D., received an award for research on DNA damage response.

“It is unprecedented for one medical center to receive all of these awards in a single year,” said Dennis Hallahan, M.D., chair of Radiation Oncology. “Vanderbilt's thriving presence at these national meetings is a direct result of our outstanding trainees, the residents, medical students, graduate students and fellows who are doing important cancer research. The excellence of our training programs is giving Vanderbilt enhanced visibility at these national meetings.”

The award recipients were among 21 Vanderbilt-Ingram researchers to give presentations at this year's ASTRO conference.

Hallahan presented two on methods to protect the brain from radiation injury and a new molecular target for cancer therapy called PLA2. Bo Lu, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Radiation Oncology, presided over a symposium studying new molecular targets to enhance radiation and how drugs enhance programmed cell death. Zhaozhong Han, Ph.D., assistant professor of Radiation Oncology, presented findings on the use of peptides to image cancer response to therapy.

This is the second year in a row that Vanderbilt-Ingram researchers set records in the number of awards received and papers presented at the ASTRO conference.