ASTRO awards $240,000 to four cancer researchers

The American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2006 Junior Faculty Career Research Training Award and Resident/Fellow in Radiation Oncology Research Seed Grants. The total value of the awards is $240,000.

"Educational support by the way of grants is an excellent motivator for these doctors to continue their research and work to find a cure for cancer," said ASTRO President K. Kian Ang, M.D., Ph.D. "I'm confident that the important research conducted by these investigators will help us get another step closer to eradicating cancer."

The ASTRO Junior Faculty Career Research Training Award is designed to stimulate interest in radiation research early in academic career development by giving junior physician-faculty the opportunity to focus on radiation-related research in radiation oncology, biology, physics or outcomes research. The award is $150,000 per year and can be reapplied to for up to an additional two years. This year's recipient is Andy J. Minn, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Minn received his undergraduate education from the University of Chicago where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in biology. He continued his education at the University of Chicago where he received a Ph.D. in Immunology as well as his M.D. Dr. Minn is currently an instructor in the Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology and an investigator in the Center for Molecular Oncology at the University of Chicago. The title of his project is, "Using De Novo Gene Expression Signature for Chemoradiation Resistance and Metastasis to Develop Clinical Classifiers and to Understand Biological Mechanism."

The ASTRO Residents/Fellows in Radiation Oncology Research Seed Grant is designed to support residents or fellows who are planning a career that focuses primarily on basic science or clinical research. It is designed for the exceptional trainee, and implies commitment to a career in research. Grants of up to $30,000 will be awarded for a one-year project. Recipients chosen for 2006 are Roberto Diaz, M.D., Ph.D., Max Diehn, M.D., Ph.D., and Aaron C. Spalding, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Diaz received his undergraduate education from the Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., where he graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in chemistry. He continued on to New York University where he received a Ph.D. in Basic Medical Sciences and an M.D. He is currently a radiation oncology resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. His project is titled "Rapid Assessment of Cancer Susceptibility to Molecular Targeted Therapy."

Dr. Diehn received his undergraduate education from Harvard University where he graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in biochemical sciences. He continued his education at Stanford where he received his Ph.D. and M.D. He is currently completing his residency in radiation oncology at Stanford University Hospital in Stanford, Calif. The title of his project is "Molecular Profiling of Human Cancer Stem Cells and Analysis of Their Sensitivity to Ionizing Radiation."

Dr. Spalding received his undergraduate education from the University of Michigan where he graduated with a B.S. in Human Physiology with high honors and distinction. He continued his education at the University of Colorado where he received a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and an M.D. He is currently conducting post-graduate work as a B. Leonard Holman Pathway Resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Mich. The title of his project is "Targeting Protein Kinase Cbeta for Radiosensitization in Pancreatic Cancer."

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Photographs of these individuals are available by contacting Julie Moore at juliem@astro.org or 1-800-962-7876. For more information on ASTRO's awards, visit http://www.astro.org/research/funding_opportunities/astro_awards/index.htm.

ASTRO is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 8,500 members who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, biology and physics, the Society is dedicated to the advancement of the practice of radiation oncology by promoting excellence in patient care, providing opportunities for educational and professional development, promoting research and disseminating research results and representing radiation oncology in a rapidly evolving socioeconomic healthcare environment.


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