A Message from Dr. Metz

Looks like the Department has been on the move with all the things described in the current newsletter. I know everyone works hard in this department, but it is great to see the team out there having fun too! Whether it is award ceremonies, volunteer efforts, or holiday celebrations, it is great to see all the smiles around Penn Radiation Oncology. I love to see all the engagement across our organization. As you know, there are changes in Penn Medicine leadership with Ralph Muller stepping down as of July 1, 2019. I am thrilled that Kevin Mahoney has accepted to take on the position as CEO of Penn Medicine. Kevin has been very involved with radiation oncology over the years and has been a key contributor to our department, not only building our facilities inlcuding the Roberts Proton Therapy Center, but offering outstanding advice and partnership. I expect we will continue with great support from the Penn Medicine leadership and look forward to realizing the next steps of our strategic plan. So, enjoy our current edition of the newsletter!

Holiday Party - December 8, 2018

Simone Automotive Foundation

Proton Patient Alumni Reception - April 24, 2019

This year's Proton Patient Alumni Reception was another success, with over 300 alumni patients, faculty, staff, and guests attending! The night began with a performance by the Penn Glee Club, followed by remarks from Dean J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD; Ralph Mueller, CEO; Mrs. Suzanne Roberts; Mr. Brian Roberts; and James Metz, MD. After the speaking program concluded, guests listened to a lovely rendition of the song "Trouble Won't Last," performed by Philadelphia singer/songwriter Kayla. She was accompanied by guitarists Bob Lowery and Rodger Paisley, who is also a proton alumni member. The performance was coordinated by another proton alumni patient, Tom Ashley. Please click the link below to view the video of the performance.


Save the Date: Spring All-Department Meeting

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 in Arthur Rubenstein Auditorium, 1st Floor Smilow Building

1st Session: 10:00 - 11:00am; 2nd Session: 12:00 - 1:00pm

Refreshments will be served after each session outside the auditorium. Please note that food is NOT permitted in the auditorium. Locations outside of PCAM will be able to stream the meeting online, and the web link will be communicated closer to the date.

Now Open: The Studio

This spring, construction finished on the new multipurpose room located on the CN Level of PCAM called the Studio. This new space will be the home of the department's Patient Engagement and Quality of Life programs, such as yoga and exercise classes, pet therapy, and Origami in addition to the weekly Patient Alumni Gathering. The Studio's tables and chairs can be set up and taken down in order to transform the space for each program. For the most up-to-date program schedule and other information, please email RadOncPatientEngagement@uphs.upenn.edu

Rewards and Recognition Committee is Now RadOnc ACES

Over the past few months, the department's employee recognition group has undergone some changes - starting with a new name! ACES stands for "Acknowledging Community and Employee Success." The goal of the committee is to encourage community throughout the department at all of its locations, while recognizing our colleagues who demonstrate the following:

  • Innovation
  • Teamwork
  • Safety Culture
  • Critical Thinking/Solving Tough Problems
  • Facilitating and Fostering Good Communication
  • Promote Effective Hand Off
  • Customer First

You can recognize a colleague at any time by submitting the recognition form found at https://redcap.med.upenn.edu/surveys/?s=HPKUea (direct link is below). We recommend bookmarking this web page for easy access in the future!

Committee Co-Chairs Andrea Rycroft and Mary Callahan are looking for new members to join the committee as well! ACES meets twice a month and a conference call line is available for network members to join. We're always looking for new event ideas and extra hands to help coordinate them! Some recent events include:

  • Holiday Basket Raffle
  • Valentine's Day candy distribution
  • Card writing for Hearts United Against Cancer
  • PI Day Pies
  • Spring Happy Hour at The Post

If you're interested, please contact email Andrea (Andrea.Rycroft@pennmedicine.upenn.edu) and Mary (Mary.Callahan@pennmedicine.upenn.edu) for more information!

Spring Happy Hour at The Post

ACES Holiday Basket Raffle Update

Basket Raffle Winners Mary K Cifaldi and Deb Breitner

This past December, Radiation Oncology raised $3,961.00 directly from ticket sales. However, thanks to extra donations from staff from research on Smilow 8th and a collection spearheaded by Brenda Laventure, Patient Access Coordinator on the CN Level, we were able to collect $4,060.00 for the Patient Assistance Fund and the organization Hearts United Against Cancer, with each organization receiving half of the funds. The Patient Assistance Fund is a 100% donation-based fund managed by Radiation Oncology's Social Work team, providing small, emergency monetary assistance to patients in need immediate need. Hearts United Against Cancer is a 50(c)-3 non-profit based out of South Jersey that creates care packages, or "bundles" for patients receiving cancer treatment. Several Penn Radiation Oncology locations as well as the Abramson Cancer Center receive these bundles. Portions of the $2,030.00 for Hearts United Against Cancer went towards sponsoring the organization's annual Gala, a community fundraiser, and decorating cards for the bundles at PCAM on Valentine's Day.

Bundles and Cards for Hearts United Against Cancer

Sharon Civa, MBA, BS, RP represented Radiation Oncology at this year's Hearts United Against Cancer Gala and at their community event focused on putting together the bundles, where she was also a guest speaker. Sharon became an active member of this organization after she received a basket herself while undergoing cancer treatment. She has also led card-making activities for the organization with senior managers in Radiation Oncology as well as in Information Services. Sharon was also featured on 6abc for her volunteer efforts with the organization.

Left: Sharon poses with the couple that sent her a care bundle; Right: Sharon poses with Beth Elwood, President and Founder of Hearts United Against Cancer.
Sponsorship Recognition at Hearts United Against Cancer Community Bundle Event

Meet the Newest Members of Our Team!

(Left to Right) David Farraday, Tess Fuller, Julia Golkin, Ellen Kim

David Farraday

David joins our department as a Clinical Research Coordinator. In his prior role, he was a Manager for Scheduling, and he has completed his Bachelor's of Science degree. In his spare time, David enjoys board games and stained glass. Contact David at dfarraday@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Teressa Fuller

Tess joins our department as an Administrative Assistant. Previously, she served as Administrative Support in Plastic Surgery. Her hobbies include ministry, community service projects, and traveling. Contact Tess at Teressa.Fuller@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Julia Golkin

Julia joins our department as an Administrative Assistant. In her prior role, she was an undergraduate Clinical Research Assistant at Drexel Women's Health Center. Julia received her Bachelor's of Health Services Administration from Drexel University. In her spare time, she enjoys music and art, horseback riding, and cooking. Contact Julia at Julia.Golkin@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Ellen Kim

Ellen joins our department as a Clinical Research Coordinator. Previously, she served as a Clinical Research Technician. Ellen earned her Bachelor's of Arts from Emory University and has completed Post-Baccalaureate studies at Rosemont College. Her hobbies include playing tennis as well as playing guitar and piano. Contact Ellen at Ellen.Kim3@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

(Left to Right) Ly Li, Patrick Macomber, Christina Marchesani, Diana Nurbagandova

Ly Li

Ly joins our department as a Research Specialist/Lab Manager in Dr. Gary Kao's lab. In her prior role, she was a Research Specialist. Ly received her Bachelor's of Science in Molecular Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. In her spare time, Ly enjoys making jewelry, psychology and philosophy, and acrobatic hula hooping. Contact Ly at Li.Ly@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Patrick Macomber

Patrick joins our department as a Dosimetrist Treatment Planner. In his prior role, he was a Dosimetrist Treatment Planner as well. Patrick earned his Bachelor's of Science degrees in both Physics and Radiologic Science. His hobbies include playing guitar, rock climbing, and playing video games. Contact Patrick at Patrick.Macomber@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Christina Marchesani

Christina joins our department as Manager of Global Education and Patient Engagement. Previously, she served as Office Manager for Penn Medicine OBGYN and as a New Patient Coordinator and Administrative Assistant for the Abramson Cancer Center. Christina completed her Bachelors of Science degree from Philadelphia University and received her Masters in Innovation Business Administration from Jefferson University. Her hobbies include designing costumes, karaoke, and bowling. Contact Christina at Christina.Marchesani@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Diana Nurbagandova

Diana joins our department as Dosimetrist Treatment Planner. Prior to joining Penn, she was a Server as well as an Assistant Professor of Russian Language and English Language Teacher at Russian public schools. Diana completed her studies at Thomas Jefferson University, Atlantic Cape Community College, and Taganrog State Pedagogical University in Russia. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening and home improvement projects. Contact Diana at Diana.Nurbagandova@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Employee Recognition

Congratulations to our colleagues on their achievements!


David (Dave) Carlson, PhD, DABR, FAAPM joins the department as an Associate Professor CE track. Dr. Carlson joins us from Yale University, where he has been a member of the faculty since 2008 and an Associate Professor since 2014. He completed his undergraduate degree at Middlebury College and then went on to complete a Ph.D. in Medical Physics at Purdue University and a medical physics residency at Stanford University. He recently served on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and is currently an Associate Senior Editor for the Int. Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics. In 2018 he was named a Fellow of the AAPM. Dr. Carlson’s research is focused on the development of more accurate radiobiological dose-response models that will advance biologically-guided radiation therapy (BGRT) for cancer patients. Dr. Carlson will serve as Director of Clinical Operations, Physics Division. As he gets acclimated to the Penn system over the coming months, he will have responsibility for managing all aspects of physics clinical operations at PCAM and our network locations.

Joshua Jones, MD has been appointed Director of QA/QI. Dr. Jones will be reporting to Dr. Michelle Alonso-Basanta in this new role. Dr. Jones is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiation Oncology (AC track) who joined the Department in 2013. He has been the Chief of the Palliative Care Service since 2015 and will continue in this role. Dr. Jones is a national leader in palliative care, and has recently been named a Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He also chairs the Radiation Oncology Well-Being Committee and is a member of the department’s Senior Leadership Team.

Eric Ojerholm, MD has been appointed Assistant Professor of Clincial Radiation Oncology (AC track). Dr. Ojerholm graduated as valedictorian from Duke University's School of Engineering with a degree in biomedical engineering. He earned a medical degree with Alpha Omega Alpha honors at the University of Pennsylvania, and then completed an internal medicine internship and radiation oncology residency at Penn. Dr. Ojerholm joined the department in 2017 as a clinical instructor, caring for veterans at the VA Medical Center. He has a particular interest in resident education: he supervises trainees rotating at the VA, and he also serves as a mentor for the GU and head/neck residency didactic lectures.

Neil K. Taunk, MD, MS has been appointed Assistant Professor Radiation Oncology (CE Track). Dr. Taunk received an MS in Clinical and Translational Science as well as his MD from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He completed his residency at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 2017. Also during his residency, he completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Molecular Imaging and Therapy and clinical research training via a NIH K30-supported curriculum at Weill Cornell Medical College/MSKCC. Dr. Taunk joined the department as a clinical instructor in 2017 and has been providing clinical care as part of the women’s health service, as well as leading the development of the department’s brachytherapy service. His research and lab work is based in novel PET imaging and radionuclide therapy.

Andrzej Wojcieszynski, MD has been appointed Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology (CE Track). Dr. Wojcieszynski received his BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MD from Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, and subsequently completed his residency in radiation oncology at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. He joined the department in 2017 as a clinical instructor and will continue providing Gastrointestinal and Gynecologic clinical care at PCAM. Among other research interests, Dr. Wojcieszynski is working with partners at Penn and in industry to develop predictive models for patient outcomes using machine learning methods.

Transition of Course Director for Radiation Oncology

The role of Course Director for Radiation Oncology clinical rotation for visiting and Penn medical students will transition from Abigail Berman, MD, MSCE to Nick Lukens, MD. After 5 years of brilliant leadership in this position, Dr. Berman will be assuming new administrative responsibilities on the NCCN Steering Committee through the Abramson Cancer Center. Dr. Lukens is a natural successor, a dedicated teacher and mentor who was recognized with an ARRO Educator of the Year award in 2016-2017. Dr. Berman has done an outstanding job in developing the Penn Radiation Oncology clinical rotation to a coveted and highly-regarded clinical experience for students across the country, and Dr. Lukens will undoubtedly carry and grow this legacy.

Medical Physics Instructor

Shannon O'Reilly, PhD will now serve as an Instructor in the medical physics division, where she will be working on the proton team. Dr. O’Reilly has transitioned from her role as a Staff Medical Physicist with our department; prior to that role, she was Chief Resident in our medical physics residency program. Dr. O’Reilly received her B.S. in Nuclear Engineering, as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering (medical physics concentration) from the University of Florida.


Alireza Fotouhi Ghiam, MD, MS has decided to take a position as a radiation oncologist at BC Cancer Agency. His last day at Penn will be June 30, 2019. Dr. Ghiam joined the Department as an Instructor in 2017, initially providing evening service at PCAM. He joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiation Oncology (Associated Faculty-Academic Clinician track) in July 2018, and treats patients on the palliative service at PCAM and head and neck patients at PAH. We are grateful for Dr. Ghiam’s service to the department over the last two years and wish him the very best in his future endeavors. We will have an opportunity to celebrate his contributions to the department in the coming weeks.

Physics Art Show

Art and Physics: A Different Perspective is a collection of paintings and photographs incorporating anything from glimpses of natural beauty to creative portraits made by members of our department: Cordelia Baffic, Andreea Dimofte, Lei Dong, Elizabeth Garver, Ping Jin, Ali Kassaee, Michele Kim, Taoran Li, Richard Maughan, Dimitris Mihailidis, Rob Mooij, Ali Kassaee, and Tim Zhu. A reception was held on January 11, 2019 to mark the opening of the exhibit.

Additionally, Andreea Dimofte had a solo exhibit titled "Blue" that was also on display at the Burrison Gallery from November 17 to December 21, 2019. A reception for the exhibit was held on November 30, 2019. Check out some of her photos below!

Tour with Undergraduate Nursing Class

After an introduction from Dr. Metz, the undergraduate nursing class taught by Genevieve Hollis, MSN, CRNP received a tour of the CN Level in PCAM with therapist Angela Natale.

CPUP Quality and Safety Award for Honorable Mention

Radiation Oncology's submission to the 2019 Quality and Patient Safety awards, Enhanced Patient Care Coordination via Adoption of a Departmental-wide Standardized Secure Messaging System, was recognized with the CPUP Quality and Safety Award for Honorable Mention. Congratulations to the awardees listed below!

Left Photo: W. Tristram Arscott, MD and Kate Gray, RN, MSN. Right Photo: 2018 Quality & Patient Safety Honorable Mention

Patient Safety Week Poster Presentations - March 11-15, 2019

(Left to Right): Therapist Angela Natale and Sloane Rabe, RN at PCAM

At PCAM, Radiation Oncology displayed three posters for Patient Safety Week:

  • Be Collaborative by Nursing and Therapy
  • Safety is No Accident by Physics and Dosimetry
  • PFAC by the Patient Experience Committee

At Cherry Hill, Therapists Fallon Shea and Jackie Matson created a poster for Patient Safety Week and they both worked the Safety Wheel game at the Safety Fair.

HEADstrong Foundation's Lime Light Gala Honors Neha Vapiwala, MD and John P. Plastaras, MD

Neha Vapiwala, MD, and John P. Plastaras, MD, were recognized as the 2019 recipients of the HEADstrong Achievement Award at the HEADstrong Foundation’s Lime Light Gala held on March 15, 2019. They were awarded this honor for their passion and dedicated commitment to improving outcomes for their patients, advancing the field of radiation oncology, and serving as a collaborative resource to their colleagues. HEADstrong is a partner to the Abramson Cancer Center, providing local, complimentary housing to patients, emotional and financial support, as well as meals and entertainment in HUP throughout the year.

(Left to Right) Dr. John Plastaras and Dr. Neha Vapiwala

Joshua Jones, MD Earns Fellow Status from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Joshua Jones, MD received the designation of Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine during the Annual Assembly of Hospice and Palliative Care in Orlando, Florida on March 16, 2019. The Academy is the professional organization for physicians who care for patients with serious illness. Advancement to fellowship status within the Academy honors dedication to and scholarship in the field of the hospice and palliative medicine. The Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine status is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a physician member, and recognizes a significant commitment to the field of hospice and palliative medicine.

Dana Palma Recognized as one of South Jersey's 2019 Top 40 Under 40

Dana Palma, Director of Finance, was honored by AC Weekly Magazine and the Atlantic City Jaycees as one of South Jersey's 2019 Top 40 Under 40.

Megan Lackaye, BSN, RN Nominated for CURE Extraordinary Healer of the Year Award

Megan Lackaye, BSN, RN was nominated by fellow nurse Karen Leary, MSN, RN, ONC for CURE Magazine's CURE Extraordinary Healer of the Year Award. While Megan wasn't selected as the winner, her nomination by Karen was included in their annual publication.

Deana Potts, MSN, CRNP Receives UPHS Nursing Excellence Award

On April 29, 2019, Deana Potts, MSN, CRNP received the Dianne Lanham Award for Leadership. She was nominated by Kate Gray, MSN, RN and Karen Leary, MSN, RN, ONC. In March, Deana's colleague's from PCAM gathered together to celebrate the good news!

Women Medical Physics Group at Penn Medicine Radiation Oncology

The resident, staff and faculty members of the recently formed Women Medical Physicist group have set their sights on creating a network of support to highlight and promote diversity in medical physics. From education to advocating for equity for female faculty and speakers, the aim is to create awareness, feature women in medical physics, and partake in outreach activities in the local community.

Women Medical Physicist Group

Women in RadOnc Meeting

On March 14, a group of women from across the clinical, research, and physics divisions (from both PCAM and network locations) met to discuss career and life choices facing women in the field at various points in their careers. The group hopes to meet regularly and expand to allow for more participation across the department. For more information, please contact Dr. Michelle Alonso-Basanta.

Stephen Avery, PhD - Received the 2019 Harvard Global Health Catalyst Ambassador Award

Theresa Busch, PhD - National Cancer Institute R01 Titled: Photodynamic therapy with prior inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor to stimulate antitumor innate immune response

Yi Fan, MD, PhD - Received the Young Investigator Award at the Cell Stem Cell 2018 Conference

Yi Fan, MD, PhD - Received the Springer Award (Junior Investigator Award at the North American Vascular Biology Organization (NAVBO)

Kelly Farraday, MS - Passed the Clinical Research Professional National Certification Exam

Erin McMenamin, PhD, CRNP - Received her PhD in Nursing Science at the Catholic University of America. Her dissertation was entitled "Predictors of Nurse Practitioner Prescription of Opioids for Cancer Pain."

Kathleen Masterstefone - Promoted to Senior Billing Representative for Radiation Oncology at Chester County Hospital

Kevin Nead, MD, MPhil - Received the 2019 Marlene Shlomchik Fellowship in Cancer Research. This award will provide $20,000 over one year to a post-graduate fellow, with a degree of MD, PhD, or both, who is doing leading-edge research in the field of cancer pathogenesis or treatment. The project selected will be the one deemed most likely to produce data that could support a mentored scientist award.

Christoforos Thomas, PhD and Sr. Research Investigator - PENNSYLVANIA BREAST CANCER COALITION Titled: Exploring the role of ER Beta therapeutic target in inflammatory breast cancer

Social Scene

PCAM Dosimetry and Physics Holiday Potluck - December 20, 2018

For Pete's Sake Annual Beach Ball Gala - January 26, 2019

S'mores and More - February 22, 2019

PCAM's Dosimetry and Physics teams got together for a little winter fun!

Chestnut Hill Team Escapes the Room!

Angela Dougherty, Cathy Albert, Steph Ganley, Mary Thomas, Niki Marcino, and Tiffany Smith recently tried their hand at an escape room and made it out with five minutes to spare!

Take Your Child To Work Day - April 25, 2019

Andrea Rycroft, RadOnc Research Administrative Coordinator hosted 33 children from the Department for Bring Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day on Thursday April 25th. The children learned CPR skills from Penn Nursing, engaged in scientific experiments in the 8th Floor Research Labs, met Linus the Therapy Dog, and made radiation hand casts in CN Acuity, and learned from CHOP Child Life Specialists. Thank you to department volunteers for donating time and resources for a memorable day: Jenine Iannaccone, Anna Rodriguez, Victoria Lynn, Jessica Eufrasio, Christina Bach, Karen Arnold-Korzeniowski, Carolyn Vachani, Mai Thammavong, Keith Cengel, Sarah Hagan, Michelle Kim, Frank Chinga, Denisa Goia, Deeksha Saxena, Amberly Mendes, Silvia Beghi, and more.

Care to Carry On 5k Run/1mi Walk - April 27, 2019

Team Totally Rad raised $175.00 benefiting Camp Erin, and 24 team members participated in the 5k run/1mi walk. Special thanks to Karen Leary, MSN, RN, OCN for organizing this event!

Around the Network

"Accuray Precision 2.0" Treatment Planning Software Commissioned at Penn Lancaster General Health

Penn Lancaster General Health is the first in the U.S. to have fully accepted and commissioned the “Accuray Precision 2.0” treatment planning software, for the Cyberknife treatments. Penn LGH was also one of the first in the U.S. to provide treatment with the CyberKnife M6TM and InciseTM Multileaf Collimator and we are continuing our legacy of innovation, focused on positively transforming the care we deliver, with the upgrade to the Precision TPS and Cyberkinfe VOLO optimizer.

A very important advantage of the new software is enabling Monte Carlo dose calculations (MC) for the planning with Multileaf collimator (in addition to the fixed cones). MC calculations will result in more accurate dose calculations for Lung (other sites) SBRT cases. In addition, Precision 2.0 software has provided a significant reduction of SRS/SBRT treatment times, and a substantial increase in planning times by 60%-70%. The physics team has worked very hard to bring this project successfully to completion to the benefit of our patients.

OncoLink Survey Helps People Create Goals for Reducing Cancer Risk

The online survey, called "Reduce My Risk," was launched in early December. The five-minute survey asks users a series of health-related questions before compiling a risk report that includes recommendations for mitigating their risk. Managing Editor Carolyn Vachani says "Hopefully, they can make a few goals for themselves." Philly Voice profiled the new survey. Please click on the button below to read the full article.

Where in the World Is Penn Radiation Oncology?

Tuba City, Navajo Nation

(Left to Right: Dr. Metz, Michelle Sparrow, Susan Niskey Popp, Dr. Levin)

On January 11, 2019, Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation (TCRHCC) unveiled an oncology center at Tuba City Hospital that will be the first to deliver local cancer treatment on an Indian Reservation. Later that month, Jim Metz, MD, Susan Niskey Popp, Michelle Sparrow, and Bill Levin, MD visited Tuba City to explore bringing radiation oncology to the Navajo Nation.

(Left to Right: Dr. Levin, Michelle Sparrow, Dr. Metz, Brandy Tomhave, Susan Niskey Popp, Kim Thiboldeaux)

Rutherford Cancer Centre, South Wales, United Kingdom

Dr. Jim Metz, Susan Niskey Popp, Lei Dong, Michelle Sparrow, Dr. Bill Levin, and Debra Stephens toured the newest proton facility of Rutherford Cancer Centre (RCC) in South Wales this past winter. As part of the department's Global Education Program, physicians and physicists from RCC South Wales have been receiving proton training in the department throughout the spring.


Global Health Catalyst Summit

Stephen Avery, PhD organized a Global Health Catalyst Summit in Tanzania in April centered around building capacity for radiotherapy in Africa. At the end of the summit, it was decided to create a global health consortium to develop a strategic plan in accordance with IAEA and FAMPO guidelines. This consortium would be led by the African Advisory Committee (AAC) in partnership with the International Advisory Committee (IAC).

African Advisory Committee

  • Chairs: Francis Hasford (Ghana) and Godfrey Azangwe (Zimbabwe)
  • Representatives from Ghana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania

International Advisory Committee

  • Chairs: Stephen Avery (University of Pennsylvania) and Wilfred Ngwa (Harvard University)
  • Representatives from the University of Pennsylvania, University of Oxford, Heidelberg University, AORTIC, and industry partners (i.e., Varian, PTW, Best Medical, etc.)

Be sure to follow the summit's Twitter page @global_tanzania for more information and insights!

Here at Home: Global Education Program

In partnership with IBA and OncoLink, Radiation Oncology has been hosting Global Education visitors over the past several weeks from Belgium, Spain, and the United Kingdom for proton training.

Visitors from Belgium enjoying dinner at Panorama Restaurant in February with Faculty and Staff


Chief Resident Announcement - Medical Residents

It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Dr. Jahan Mohiuddin as our next Assistant Chief Resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at University of Pennsylvania, effective July 1, 2019.

Dr. Mohiuddin will work closely with the current Chief Residents, Drs. George Chao and Amar Grewal, as he transitions into his new role over the coming months. He will officially assume the title in July as Dr. Grewal becomes the Senior Chief Resident.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Mohiuddin on this appointment, and in acknowledging the talents that earned him this leadership role. Let us also take this opportunity to thank Dr. Chao in advance for his exemplary service to the department over the past 2 years.

Chief Resident Announcement - Medical Physics Residents

It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Peyton Irmen, MMP as our next Medical Physics Chief Resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, effective July 1st, 2019.

Peyton graduated from the Penn’s Masters in Medical Physics program in 2018 and enrolled in our residency program in July 2018. During the past 7 months, he has demonstrated strong leadership skills and exemplary performance in the clinic. He will work closely with the current Physics Chief Resident, Dr. Heather Petroccia, as he transitions into his new role over the coming months. He will officially assume the title in July when Dr. Petroccia graduates.

Please join us in congratulating Peyton on his appointment, and in acknowledging the devotion and hard work that earned him this leadership role. Let us also take this opportunity to thank Dr. Petroccia in advance for her exemplary service to the department, and for the fantastic job that she has done for the medical physics residency program over the past year.

Medical Residency Match 2019 Results

We are very happy to share with you the results of this year’s radiation oncology medical residency match.

In alphabetical order below are the 5 outstanding applicants who will be joining our department in July 2020 (after an internship year with the Department of Medicine at HUP which will start in June 2019). Also listed are their anticipated degrees from their current institutions, as well as their undergraduate training affiliations.

  • Eva Berlin, MD - Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, B.A. Brandeis University (International and Global Studies)
  • Sana Dastgheyb, MD - Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, BSE University of Virginia (Biomedical Engineering)
  • William Su, MD - Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, B.A. Columbia University (Biochemistry)
  • Jacob Trotter, MD - Duke University, B.S. Brigham Young University (Neuroscience)
  • Nikhil Yegya-Raman, MD - Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, B.A. Princeton University (Chemistry)

We would like to thank everyone for their efforts in supporting all of the medical students who spend time in our department. We sincerely appreciate everyone’s contributions that collectively ensure the success of our recruitment process each year.

Our marketing team shared that the Radiation Oncology residency match announcement received a good bit of engagement on social media as well!

Please join us in welcoming these outstanding candidates to our department!

Medical Physics Residency Match 2019 Results

We are happy to share with you the results of the medical physics residency match for 2019. As always, admission to the medical physics residency program is highly competitive, and we are delighted that the following individuals (in alphabetical order) will join our department on July 1st, 2019. Please note that this year we have 4 positions for the 2-year program, and 1 position for the 3 year program.

2 Year Program

  • Akbar Anvari - PhD Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University, Iran (2016); Currently a post-doc at the University of Maryland
  • Yingxuan Chen - PhD Nuclear Physics, Duke University (2019)
  • Hui Lin - PhD Nuclear Engineering, Rensselear Polytechnic Institute (2018); Currently a post-doc at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Lee Xu - MS Medical Physics, Columbia University (2019)

3 Year Program

  • Suk Whan (Paul) Yoon - PhD Medical Physics, Duke University (2018). Paul will spend one year as a post-doc working with Dr. Taoran Li before starting clinical training in July 2020.

Please join us in welcoming these outstanding candidates to our program!

Resident AAPM Submissions

The following residents have successfully submitted AAPM abstracts:

  • Heather Petroccia, PhD - Oral presentation with Timothy Zhu, PhD
  • Irina Malajovich, PhD - Snap oral presentation with Shibu Anamalayil, MS and Kevin Teo, PhD
  • Michele Kim, PhD - E-poster discussion with Eric Diffenderfer, PhD
  • Peyton Irmen, MMP - Snap oral presentation with Taoran Li, PhD
  • Peyton Irmen, MMP - E-poster discussion with Shibu Anamalayil, MS
  • Ching Yun Cheng, PhD - Snap oral presentation with Kevin Teo, PhD
  • Wendy Harris, PhD - Oral presentation with Jennifer Zou, PhD

2019 Medical Physics Residency Teaching Awards

Christina Paul - Dosimetrist

Douglas Bollinger, MS - Physicist

Both winners are relatively new to our department and we are delighted that they are already making a big impact to our educational program. Our physics residents spend a substantial amount of time with our dosimetrists to learn about all aspects of treatment planning at the beginning of their residency. Many of them are fresh from graduate school and we thank all dosimetrists for molding them from inexperienced newbies to highly competent treatment planners. Our physics residents benefited greatly from interacting with physicists who make the extra effort to pass on their knowledge during their interaction with the residents in spite of their own busy schedule. This effort is greatly appreciated. Congratulations to Christina and Douglas for winning this year's awards!

Alpha Omega Alpha Award Ceremony - February 5, 2019

Neha Vapiwala, MD, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs in the Perelman School of Medicine, helped welcome the newest members of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society along with Dean J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD.

18 Annual Morton M. Kligerman Lecture - April 11, 2019

Awardee: Quynh-Thu Le, MD

Professor and Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University

Lecture: "The Role of Galectin-1 in immune suppression in lung and head and neck cancers"


John Yuhas Award Lecture - April 16, 2019

Awardee: Sandra Demaria, MD

Professor, Departments of Radiation Oncology and Pathology, Weill Cornell Medical College

Lecture: "A New Role for Radiation Therapy in the Era of Cancer Immunotherapy"

(Left to Right) Dr. Jim Metz, Dr. Sandra Demaria, Mrs. Ellen Yuhas, and Dr. Koumenis


Rivera-Reyes A, Ye S, E Marino G, Egolf S, E Ciotti G, Chor S, Liu Y, Posimo JM, Park PMC, Pak K, Babichev Y, Sostre-Colón J, Tameire F, Leli NM, Koumenis C, C Brady D, Mancuso A, Weber K, Gladdy R, Qi J, Eisinger-Mathason TSK. YAP1 enhances NF-κB-dependent and independent effects on clock-mediated unfolded protein responses and autophagy in sarcoma. Cell Death Dis. 2018 Oct 31;9(11):1108. PMID: 30382078

Demissei BG, Freedman G, Feigenberg SJ, Plastaras JP, Maity A, Smith AM, McDonald C, Sheline K, Simone CB, Lin L, Carver JR, Liu P, Zhang L, Bekelman JE, Ky B. Early changes in cardiovascular biomarkers with contemporary thoracic radiation therapy for breast cancer, lung cancer and lymphoma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2018 Nov 13. PMID: 30445173

Rice SR, Li YR, Busch TM, Kim MM, McNulty S, Dimofte A, Zhu TC, Cengel KA, Simone CB 2nd. A Novel Prospective Study Assessing the Combination of Photodynamic Therapy and Proton Radiation Therapy: Safety and Outcomes When Treating Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Photochem Photobiol. 2018 Nov 28. PMID: 30485442

Cramer G, Shin M, Hagan S, Katz S 1st, Simone CB II, Busch TM, Cengel KA. Modeling Epidermal Growth Factor Inhibitor-Mediated Enhancement of Photodynamic Therapy Efficacy Using 3D Mesothelioma Cell Culture. Photochem Photobiol. 2018 Nov 29. PMID: 30499112

Ojha R, Leli NM, Onorati A, Piao S, Verginadis II, Tameire F, Rebecca VW, Chude CI, Murugan S, Fennelly C, Noguera-Ortega E, Liu S, Xu X, Krepler C, Xiao M, Xu W, Wei Z, Frederick DT, Boland G, Mitchell TC, Karakousis GC, Schuchter LM, Flaherty KT, Zhang G, Herlyn M, Koumenis C, Amaravadi RK. ER translocation of the MAPK pathway drives therapy resistance in BRAF mutant melanoma. Cancer Discov. 2018 Dec 18. PMID: 30563872

Chatterjee S, Pietrofesa RA, Park K, Tao JQ, Carabe-Fernandez A, Berman AT, Koumenis C, Sielecki T, Christofidou-Solomidou M. LGM2605 Reduces Space Radiation-Induced NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation and Damage in In Vitro Lung Vascular Networks. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Jan 5;20(1). PMID: 30621290

Yuan J, Hu Z, Mahal BA, Zhao SD, Kensler KH, Pi J, Hu X, Zhang Y, Wang Y, Jiang J, Li C, Zhong X, Montone KT, Guan G, Tanyi JL, Fan Y, Xu X, Morgan MA, Long M, Zhang Y, Zhang R, Sood AK, Rebbeck TR, Dang CV, Zhang L. Integrated Analysis of Genetic Ancestry and Genomic Alterations across Cancers. Cancer Cell. 2018 Oct 8;34(4):549-560. PMID: 30300578

Pustylnikov S, Costabile F, Beghi S, Facciabene A. Targeting mitochondria in cancer: current concepts and immunotherapy approaches. Transl Res. 2018 Jul 31. PMID: 30144423

Liu T, Xu H, Huang M, Ma W, Saxena D, Lustig RA, Alonso-Basanta M, Zhang Z, O Rourke DM, Zhang L, Gong Y, Kao GD, Dorsey JF, Fan Y. Circulating glioma cells exhibit stem cell-like properties. Cancer Res. 2018 Oct 15. PMID: 30322863

Schonewolf CA, Heskel M, Doucette A, Singhal S, Frick MA, Xanthopoulos EP, Corradetti MN, Friedberg JS, Pechet TT, Christodouleas JP, Levin W, Berman A, Cengel KA, Verma V, Hahn SM, Kucharczuk JC, Rengan R, Simone CB 2nd. Five-year Long-term Outcomes of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy for Operable Versus Medically Inoperable Stage I Non-small-cell Lung Cancer: Analysis by Operability, Fractionation Regimen, Tumor Size, and Tumor Location. Clin Lung Cancer. 2018 Sep 20. PMID: 30337269

Fishbein L, Ben-Maimon S, Keefe S, Cengel K, Pryma DA, Loaiza-Bonilla A, Fraker DL, Nathanson KL, Cohen DL. SDHB mutation carriers with malignant pheochromocytoma respond better to CVD. Endocr Relat Cancer. 2017 Aug;24(8):L51-L55. PMID: 28566531

Bell BI, Koduri S, Salinas CS, Monslow J, Puré E, Ben-Josef E, Koumenis C, Verginadis II. Interleukin-6 signaling blockade exacerbates acute and late injury from focal intestinal irradiation. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2018 Oct 15. PMID: 30336264

Maity A, Mick R, Huang AC, George SM, Farwell MD, Lukens JN, Berman AT, Mitchell TC, Bauml J, Schuchter LM, O'Hara M, Lin LL, Demichele A, Christodouleas JP, Haas NB, Patsch DM, Hahn SM, Minn AJ, Wherry EJ, Vonderheide RH. A phase I trial of pembrolizumab with hypofractionated radiotherapy in patients with metastatic solid tumours. Br J Cancer. 2018 Oct 15. PMID: 30318516

Baumann BC, Verginadis II, Zeng C, Bell B, Koduri S, Vachani C, MacArthur KM, Solberg TD, Koumenis C, Metz JM. Assessing the Validity of Clinician Advice That Patients Avoid Use of Topical Agents Before Daily Radiotherapy Treatments. JAMA Oncol. 2018 Oct 18. PMID: 30347008

Davis RW 4th, Snyder E, Miller J, Carter S, Houser C, Klampatsa A, Albelda S, Cengel K, Busch TM. Luminol Chemiluminescence Reports Photodynamic Therapy-Generated Neutrophil Activity In Vivo and Serves as a Biomarker of Therapeutic Efficacy. Photochem Photobiol. 2018 Oct 25. PMID: 30357853

KT Nead, E Linos, N Vapiwala. Increasing diversity in radiation oncology: a call to action. Advances in Radiation Oncology

Luna, José Marcio; Chao, Hann-Hsiang; Diffenderfer, Eric S; Valdes, Gilmer; Chinniah, Chidambaram; Ma, Grace; Cengel, Keith A; Solberg, Timothy D; Berman, Abigail T; Simone, Charles B. “Predicting Radiation Pneumonitis in Locally Advanced Stage II-III Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Using Machine Learning.” Radiotherapy and Oncology (2019) pp. 106-112

LaRiviere, M.J., Swisher-McClure, S., Vapiwala, N., Berman, A.T. Educational opportunities in radiation oncology for the non-radiation oncologist. International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics. Letter to the Editor. Accepted.


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