Invited Speakers

Meet the 9th Annual PTCOG-NA Conference invited speakers:

Sahaja Acharya

Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis, USA


Eleanor Blakely

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkley, USA

Eleanor A. Blakely is a retired Senior Staff Biophysicist with a 47-year professional career at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducting molecular, cellular and animal radiobiological research directed at studying the basic mechanisms of radiation responses, with an emphasis on charged particle radiation effects. She currently is an Adjunct Research Professor in both the Departments of Basic Sciences, and of Radiation Medicine at Loma Linda University, School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Dr. Blakely is the recipient of several awards including the 20th Gray Medal of the ICRU in 2019, a Fellow of both the AAAS and the Radiation Research Society, and a Distinguished Emeritus Member of the NCRP.

Lei Dong

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

Dr. Dong is a professor and the director of medical physics division at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. A nationally recognized expert in radiation therapy, Dr. Dong co-authored more than 250 peer-reviewed articles and 15 book chapters. He conducted innovative research and clinical development in image guided radiation therapy and proton therapy. He is a fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM). He served as a member of AAPM Science Council, the Physics Track Chair at the annual scientific meeting of American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO). He is also a member of the education council for the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG).

David Grosshans

University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA

Dr. Grosshans is a Professor in the Departments of Radiation Oncology and Experimental Radiation Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Clinically, as a radiation oncologist, he treats adult and pediatric patients requiring proton therapy. He is a physician scientist and devotes a significant amount of time to research. He has a special expertise, both research and clinical, in particle therapy including the use of multi-field optimized intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT). His groups ongoing bench research includes investigations of biologic effect variability in proton and carbon ion therapy, including differential DNA damage as a function of physical factors, as well as radiation effects on non-replicative cell types including neurons. He has extensive experience in both in vitro and in vivo radiation biologic effect models and has numerous ongoing collaborations with faculty in radiation physics, neuro-immunology as well as neuroscience investigators at Baylor and Texas Childrens Hospital.

Anne Hubbard

American Society for Radiation Oncology, Washington, USA

Anne Hubbard is the Director of Health Policy for the American Society for Radiation Oncology. As Director of Health Policy, Ms. Hubbard leads efforts to inform Medicare and private payer of policies that impact the practice of radiation oncology. This includes oversight of the CPT and RUC process, coding and coverage policies, as well as the development of an Alternative Payment Model for Radiation Oncology.  Prior to joining ASTRO in 2014, she spent four years with the Maryland Hospital Association where she was involved with the renewal of Maryland’s All Payer Medicare Waiver.  Ms. Hubbard has also worked for the State of Maryland as the Director of Governmental Affairs for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  She has a BA in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland at College Park and an MBA with a concentration in Finance from Loyola University Maryland.

Jonathan Chen

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center - Proton Therapy Center, Seattle, USA

I completed my MD/PhD at Weill Cornell Medical School in New York City. I stayed at Cornell and completed my residency in radiation oncology. I then joined the faculty at University of Washington and have been here ever since. I am currently an Assistant Professor, as well as the Medical Director for the FHCC-Northwest Hospital site and residency site director at the FHCC Proton Therapy Center. My primary focus is genitourinary cancers, but I also treat ocular melanoma patients with both plaque brachytherapy and proton therapy.

Arpit Chhabra

New York Proton Center, NY, USA

Dr. Arpit Chhabra is an attending radiation oncologist at the New York Proton Center and specializes in the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) tumors, head and neck cancers, as well as malignancies of the gastrointestinal (GI) and genitourinary (GU) tracts. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Mount Sinai Health System.
Before coming to the New York Proton Center, Dr. Chhabra completed a dedicated proton therapy fellowship at the University of Maryland and was a practicing radiation oncologist with the Central Connecticut Radiation Oncology group specializing in the treatment of all adult malignancies.

Michael Chuong

Miami Cancer Institute, Miami, USA

Michael Chuong, MD, FACRO is a board-certified radiation oncologist at Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida. Dr. Chuong is the Director of Proton Therapy, Director of MR-Guided Radiation Therapy, and Director of Radiation Oncology Clinical Research. He is the lead physician for the GI radiation oncology service. Dr. Chuong is also the Vice Chair of Education and Clinical Research and an associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. Dr. Chuong received his medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, Florida and completed his radiation oncology residency training at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute where he served as the Chief Resident. Dr. Chuong holds leadership positions within several national and international organizations. He is the Disease Site Chair of the Proton Collaborative Group, the Particle Therapy Co-operative Group GI Sub-committee co-chair, and a member of the NRG Oncology GI subcommittee. In addition to expertise in proton therapy, he is also an internationally recognized expert in the use of MR-guided radiation therapy. Dr. Chuong is frequently invited to speak about his expertise in treating cancer patients with both novel technologies. Dr. Chuong has published over 70 peer-reviewed manuscripts and is the principal investigator for several national and international clinical trials exploring novel therapies for the management of GI cancers. He is an editor for several prominent journals including the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics and Frontiers in Oncology. Dr. Chuong has received numerous awards, including the American Society of Clinical Medicine Conquer Cancer Foundation Merit Award and the Moffitt Cancer Center Research Symposium Clinical Research Symposium Clinical Research Award.

Jedediah Johnson

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA

I currently hold the position of Assistant Professor of Medical Physics in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I received my PhD is experimental condensed matter physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012, and then completed a clinical and research fellowship in radiological physics at Mayo Clinic in 2015.  I was hired on as a staff physicist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester to coincide with the opening of our spot-scanning particle therapy center eight years ago. I have a particular interest in adaptive particle therapy and am involved efforts to clinically implement an automated, pre-treatment dose calculation system using in-room CT-on-rails localization image sets. This tool will allow members of the care team to prospectively assess the dose delivered to a patient while taking into account the patient’s daily setup and anatomical differences from the original simulation scan. This is the first step toward an eventual online adaptive particle therapy workflow.

John Kang

University of Washington, Seattle, USA

I am an assistant professor radiation oncologist who specializes in the treatment of lung cancer, thoracic malignancies, and metastatic disease. I am the University of Washington Department of Radiation Oncology biomedical informatics lead. My research focus is in using natural language processing to extract latent knowledge from text and improve outcomes for patients.

Geroge Laramore

University of Washington, Seattle, USA

After receiving a PhD in physics at the University of Illinois, Professor Laramore obtained his MD at the University of Miami.  His research mainly is at the interface between physics and medicine with particular emphasis on the use of particle radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer.  He has been involved in fast neutron radiotherapy since he first came to the University of Washington in 1976, first utilizing a research cyclotron at the University of Washington Nuclear Physics facility and then using a clinical neutron facility at the University of Washington Medical Center which was funded by an NCI program project grant.  Over 4000 patients have been treated with fast neutrons at the University of Washington which currently has the only high linear energy transfer (LET) treatment center in the United States.  Professor Laramore has also been involved in boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) research in both its conventional form and as a boost to fast neutron radiotherapy.  He served as Department Chair for 16 years and during that time facilitated the installation of a clinical proton treatment center on the Northwest Hospital campus and served as its first Medical Director. He currently is Professor Emeritus of Radiation Oncology at the University of Washington.

Jennifer Maggiore

National Association for Proton Therapy, Jacksonville, USA

Jennifer Maggiore is an experienced healthcare administrator in the field of oncology and a dedicated advocate for cancer patients. In 2019, she assumed the role of Executive Director at the National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT), an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and educating the public about the clinical benefits of proton therapy. With 45 members across the United States, the NAPT strives to enhance patient access to particle therapy and foster collaborative research and innovation. Jennifer's career in oncology spans over 25 years, during which she served as Vice President for Patient Services and Strategic Development at Ackerman Cancer Center in Jacksonville, Florida. She began her professional journey as an oncology social worker at Ascension Health, utilizing her master's degree in social work to provide compassionate care to cancer patients. With her wealth of experience and unwavering commitment to improving patient outcomes, Jennifer Maggiore continues to shape the field of oncology and advance the mission of the National Association for Proton Therapy.

Pranshu Mohindra

University Hospitals Cleveland and UH Proton Center, Cleveland, USA


Eenas Omari

Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA

Dr. Omari is an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a board-certified therapeutic medical physicist. With a specialization in image guided radiotherapy, Dr. Omari's primary focus lies in online adaptive radiotherapy. Notably, she played a pivotal role in establishing Illinois' first MRI-guided online adaptive radiotherapy program during her term at Loyola University Chicago before joining the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Omari continues to make contributions in the field of MRI-guided adaptive radiotherapy at MCW. Additionally, she is an integral member of MCW’s physics protons planning team, marking a pioneering initiative within the state of Wisconsin. Dr. Omari is a member of ASTRO, ACR, and AAPM. She actively participates in the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and serves on the working groups for seed grant funding and iTreatSafely. She also contributes as an editor and reviewer for various journals. Dr. Omari has published over 50 journal articles and abstracts, along with authoring three book chapters. Within her academic pursuits, Dr. Omari is actively engaged in global health medical physics educational activities and focuses on -Low to -middle class countries.

Gustavo Santa Cruz

National Atomic Energy Commission, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Gustavo Santa Cruz obtained his Ph.D. degree in Physics from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has worked as a research associate at Harvard University and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States. He is currently the manager of the Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy area of the National Atomic Energy Commission of Argentina, head of the BNCT Department and the scientific director of the Argentine Proton Therapy Center project. His speciality is radiation biophysics, working in this area for more than 20 years, also covering research topics in dosimetry and theoretical, computational and experimental microdosimetry. He investigates the use of dynamic infrared thermography in medical and biological applications.

Stephanie Shaub

University of Washington School of Medicine, WA, USA

Dr. Stephanie Schaub is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at University of Washington School of Medicine, Fred Hutch Cancer Center (FHCC), Seattle Children's Hospital, and the FHCC Proton Center. Dr. Schaub has expertise in the treatment of pediatric cancers, adult sarcomas, and spine tumors. Her research interests involve the identification of novel imaging and non-invasive biomarkers that can help personalize our therapeutic approach. She is also passionate about equity, value-based care, and how to best serve the whole patient across all spectrums of their cancer from curative to palliative treatment with a goal of reducing barriers for patients to receive expert-level care.

Henning Willers

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA

Dr. Willers is a clinician-scientist with a primary interest in thoracic radiation oncology and radiation biology. He is the Director of the Thoracic Radiation Oncology Program and the Radiation Biology & Research Program at Mass General Cancer Center and an Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School. His lab has identified novel approaches to sensitize cancers to radiation and other DNA-damaging therapeutics through targeting of EGFR- and KRAS-dependent cellular pathways. Dr. Willers’ group also uncovered biological properties of proton radiation that can be therapeutically exploited. Lab research has been funded by the NCI (SPORE, U01, P01), Department of Defense, American Cancer Society, and American Lung Association, among others. Lab findings have informed or led to four early-phase clinical trials to date. Dr. Willers’ major goal is to advance the development of biomarker-correlated and molecular targeted radiation therapy.

Jonathan Yang

University of Washington’s School of Medicine, Seattle, USA

Dr. Jonathan Yang is an Associate Professor in the University of Washington’s School of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology. He serves as the Director of Metastatic Disease and Developmental Therapeutics in the Department. His clinical and academic expertise is in metastatic disease, including oligometastasis, central nervous system malignancies, and precision radiation oncology through rational combination of novel therapeutics with radiotherapy for which he serves as the principal investigator of several ongoing first-in-human trials investigating DNA damage response inhibitors with radiation. He is also focused on translational biomarker development to guide appropriate treatment selection in patients with metastatic cancers. In addition, Dr. Yang has a special interest in the management of solid tumor leptomeningeal metastasis where his research using proton therapy has demonstrated promising survival benefit and elucidated the unique biological process in the central nervous system after proton therapy.
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