Stefan Both received his PhD degree from the Babes-Bolyai University, in 2005. His Physicist career started at the Kiricuta Oncology Institute, Romania, in 1996. He immigrated to the US in 2000 and worked in private and academic radiation oncology. In 2008, Dr Both became a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, where he was able to advance treatment programs in conventional radiotherapy, establish and lead the physics residency programs, and spearhead technical advances, including proton therapy. In 2015, he joined Memorial SloanKettering Cancer Center, New York, as an Associate Attending and Lead Physicist. Currently, Dr. Both is the Professor and Head of Medical Physics and Instrumentation in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Groningen University Medical Center, Netherlands. He is board certified by the American Board of Radiology in Therapeutic Radiological Physics, a Fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and an Extraordinary Member of the Dutch Medical Physics Society. He serves on committees of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group, Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Programs and American Board of Radiology. Dr. Both has been an invited speaker and committee member at conferences, published over 70 papers in peer reviewed journals, has more than 140 conference contributions, participates to editorial and advisory boards and edited and coauthored books. His main research interests are advanced treatment planning, motion and range uncertainty management, biological guided adaptive radiotherapy and atomization in proton therapy.
After several years in neuro- and general surgery, in 1992 V. Djonov entered a research position in the Department of Clinical Research at the University of Bern, Switzerland.
In 1996 he became a research assistant in the Division of Developmental Biology within the Institute of Anatomy, Bern. This was followed by his habilitation (assistant professorship) in 2002 followed by associate professor in 2006 at the same institute.
In September 2007, V. Djonov was promoted to full professor and became co-director of the Institute of Anatomy in Fribourg, Switzerland. After a period of 3 years, he returned to Berne where he is currently the director of the Institute of Anatomy.
The main scientific interest of his group is the radio-biological effects induced by Microbeam Radiation Therapy (MRT). MRT is a preclinical radiotherapy technique using spatially fractionated X-rays to produce alternating regions of high and low dose deposition in the target tissue. This results in unique radiation/tissue interactions that expands the therapeutic index of radiation therapy by increasing tumor control, including that of radioresistant malignancies, while simultaneously exhibiting remarkable normal tissue sparing even when delivering peak doses of hundreds of Grays.
This “MRT effect” appears to be governed by a new radiobiological paradigm characterized by several novel mechanisms that contribute to treatment success: (i) MRT acts as a very potent angiodisruptive and anti-angiogenic agent resulting in reduced blood supply to irradiated tumors (ii) these disrupted tumor vessels serve as a gateway for circulating immune cells to invade MRT-irradiated tumor tissue, and enhance anti-tumor immune responses (iii) this MRT-induced immune effect is characterized by a specific gene signature that implicates myeloid cell recruitment and interferon responses as key mediators of this anti-tumor response.
These unique features support the clinical translation of MRT as a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of inoperable, radioresistant lesions.
Katia Parodi received her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Dresden, Germany, in 2004. She then worked as postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA. In 2006 she returned to Germany as tenured scientist and group leader at the Heidelberg Ion Therapy Center, obtaining in 2009 her Habilitation from the Heidelberg University. Since 2012 she is full professor and Chair of Medical Physics at the Physics Faculty of the Ludwig-MaximiliansUniversity (LMU) in Munich, where she initiated a dedicated curriculum for Medical Physics within the Physics MSc. She also retained a secondary affiliation with the Heidelberg Ion Therapy Center. Her main research interests are in high precision image-guided radiotherapy with a special focus on ion beams, from advanced computational modeling to experimental developments and clinical evaluation of novel methods for in-vivo ion range monitoring. Katia Parodi has been invited speaker and committee member at many conferences, and contributed to over 90 publications in peer reviewed journals, more than 150 conference contributions, 5 book chapters and a couple of patents. For her work she received several national and international recognitions, including the Behnken Berger Award in 2006, the IEEE Bruce Hasegawa Young Investigator Medical Imaging Science Award in 2009 and the AAPM John S. Laughlin Young Scientist in 2015. Since 2015 she is also vice president of the German Society for Medical Physics (DGMP).
Dr Francesco Romano is Researcher at the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN). His expertise is on radiation dosimetry and Monte Carlo simulations for medical applications.
He received from University of Catania (Italy) his PhD in Physics in 2010 and his Medical Physics Certification in 2015. He has been working for about ten years at the INFN Southern Laboratory in Catania, coordinating the research activities of two research beam lines, respectively dedicated to proton and ion therapy experimental investigations, also supporting the User’s experiments. He was also responsible for the design and realization of the in-air final section of a laser-driven proton beam line for medical applications and the installed dosimetric systems.
He moved in 2017 to the United Kingdom, working for almost three years as a Senior Researcher at the National Physical Laboratory in London, which is the UK National Metrology Institute. He have been working here on novel dosimetry developments for proton therapy and FLASH radiotherapy. He came back to Italy three years later working at INFN Catania Division, where he is currently carrying on his research activity on ion beam microdosimetry and dosimetry for hadron therapy and FLASH radiotherapy. He is Honorary Lecturer at the Queen’s University of Belfast and University of Surrey in the UK. He is member of the International Geant4 Collaboration and of the Editorial Board of the Applied Physics Journal. He is Reviewer for different Journals in the Medical Physics field and member of the Scientific Committee of several Conferences and International Schools. He is among the proponents of the “UHDpulse” EMPIR joint research project, for dosimetry of ultra-high pulse dose rate beams, and of the INFN FRIDA project for FLASH radiotherapy.
Paul Sellin is a Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey in the UK, and a visiting Professor at the University of Wollongong. His research interests are in the development and characterisation of radiation detectors and detector materials for applications in medical physics, radiation imaging, and nuclear security. His research group focuses on the characterisation and development of new detector materials, with a particular emphasis on the application of perovskite and organic materials for radiation detection and dosimetry.
Born in France, Nicolas completed a Master-equivalent program in general engineering and computer sciences at the E.S.E.O. in Angers. During his final year of studies, he completed a double-diploma program and obtained his master’s degree in Medical Radiation Physics at the University of Wollongong (UoW), Australia. In 2008, Nicolas moved to Boston, MA, USA where he joined the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to work in proton therapy. In 2011, he re-enrolled in parallel at UoW in a Ph.D program which he completed in 2015. ABR-board certified in 2013, Nicolas is now a clinical medical physicist, lead in proton treatment planning at MGH.
Area of Research
Mitigation of radiation injury; MR Guided Therapy; Decision Support Systems for Adaptive Radiation Therapy; Response monitoring using functional imaging; Real time dosimetry systems for particle therapy.
A) Mitigation of normal tissue radiation injury in the brain. One example of this research thrust is Hippocampal Avoidance Whole Brain Radiotherapy (HAWBRT): While whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) combined with Stereotactic radiosurgery offers effective palliation in many inoperable cases, it has been speculated that adverse effects on neurocognitive function might outweigh its benefits. HAWBRT aims to preserve neurocognitive function and quality of life, and the Risk to Benefit ratio will have to be optimized with respect to these endpoints. In our work involving patients receiving focal fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy for benign and low grade brain neoplasms, we have established a hippocampal dosimetric threshold of 7.3 Gy in 2 Gy fraction equivalents to 40% of the hippocampus that is associated with subsequent risk of impairment in delayed recall. Patients receiving a dose of higher than this threshold dose to 40% of the hippocampus are 19 times more likely to exhibit impairment in list learning than patients that receive less than this threshold dose to 40% of the hippocampus. As demonstrated by us this dosimetric threshold can be achieved with currently available IMRT techniques and it may therefore, be desirable to spare a patient’s hippocampus during WBRT to achieve a durable palliative effect with decreased neurocognitive side effects in the memory domain. Using animal models we are interested in further investigating the link between hippocampal irradiation and neurocognitive impairment.
B) MR-Guided Therapy
C) Development of decision support systems for adaptive radiation therapy.
D) Use of functional imaging to define and characterize high-risk volumes for risk adaptive radiotherapy. Risk adaptive radiotherapy is a biological optimization strategy that is based on the possible risk characteristics for local recurrence in tumor sub-volumes rather than individual tumor voxels and treatment plans are optimized using biological objective functions that are region specific, rather than voxel specific. Risk Adaptive optimization can be employed in the generation of treatment plans based on biological objective functions.
E) Use of functional imaging to assess treatment response of tumors to therapy.
F) Use of nonlinear systems theory to predict and eventually control (i.e. stabilize) the breathing pattern and hence the tumor motion based on fast intratreatment fraction MR imaging using real time MR radiotherapy systems. Develop real-time adaptive RT techniques that can correct for changes on the fly.
G) Further development of advanced dosimetry systems for spot scanning proton dosimetry and further development of proton CT stopping power images for daily Bragg Peak prediction prior to the delivery of IMPT.
National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS), National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (QST) in Japan
Taku Inaniwa, Ph.D, is a group leader of treatment beam research group at National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS), National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (QST) in Japan. His research focuses on developing dose calculation algorithms and biological models used for charged particle therapy treatment planning. In addition, he is also interested in the development of novel treatment methods.
He has contributed ~100 peer reviewed publications. Three of his first author publications have been selected as Highlights from Physics in Medicine and Biology. He is a member of the international scientific advisory board of the journal. For his works, he has received several national and international awards.
Prof Harald Paganetti is the Director of Physics Research, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, with over 260 peer reviewed articles and 21 book chapters, specialising in proton therapy physics.
Dr. Francis A. Cucinotta is a professor of Health Physics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He received his doctorate in nuclear physics from Old Dominion University during 1988. He worked at NASA from 1990-2013 in several positions including research scientist, radiological health officer for spaceflight, and manager and chief scientist for the Space Radiation Research Project. Dr. Cucinotta was NASA’s manager for the construction and operation of the NASA Space Radiation Lab at Brookhaven National Laboratory. 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. He has developed models of cancer, circulatory disease and non-cancer risks to the blood forming organs, and central nervous system for understanding the risks to cancer patients and radiation workers. He led NASA’s biodosimetry program for the International Space Station and discovered the association of increased incidence of cataracts in past space missions. Dr. Cucinotta’s biophysical models are applicable to radiation exposures on Earth, to ground-based radiation workers and cancer patients treated with radiation, and for astronauts in space. He developed space radiation quality factors and risk models that were approved for use at NASA. National Research Council and National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) have reviewed his work in dedicated reports. His models were applied to predict risks for COVID-19 patients for possible treatment with thorax radiation.
Dr. Cucinotta has published more than 400 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and numerous reviewed NASA technical reports in the areas of nuclear and space physics, radiation shielding, DNA damage and repair, biodosimetry, systems biology, and cancer and central nervous system risk assessment models. He has published extensively including in Reviews of Modern Physics, Science, Nucleic Acids Research, Nature Reviews Cancer, and the Lancet Oncology. His work has been cited more than 22,000 times with an h-index of 71 on Google Scholar. He has won research grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Energy (DoE), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He earned numerous NASA awards for his efforts, received UNLV’s 2018 Barrick Scholar Award and the Nevada Silver State, Harry Reid Award for Scholarship in 2020. Dr. Cucinotta served as president of the Radiation Research Society during 2014 and received its highest scientific achievement award, the Failla Award, during 2018. He served on two six-year terms as an elected council member of the NCRP, and has served on special committees for the NCRP and the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP).