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Department of Radiation Oncology

Department of Radiation Oncology

Radiation exposure/therapy experts at UC Davis

February 23, 2010

Recent media stories about excessive radiation exposure have generated widespread concern about the potential risks of radiation used for diagnosis and treatment of disease.  UC Davis is home to national and international experts in fields of radiology and related fields who can discuss radiation technologies and research to better understand and control the effects of low- and moderate-dose radiation both for diagnosing disease and for cancer treatment.

To interview any of these experts, please contact Dorsey Griffith at (916) 734-9118 or via e-mail.

Radiation oncologists/researchers:

Richard Valicenti: Valicenti is professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at UC Davis.  Valicenti is recognized nationally and internationally for his use of image-guidance and intensity-modulated radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer patients.

Radiation biologists:

Jian-Jian Li: Li is a professor of radiation oncology and a researcher who studies the molecular mechanisms causing tumor resistance to radiation and chemotherapy.  The goal of his work is to find therapeutic targets to enhance the cure rate for patients undergoing radiation therapy.  Li also researches ways to protect normal tissue from the effects of both high-dose and low-dose radiation. 

Matthew Coleman: Coleman is associate adjunct professor of radiation oncology.  He studies how low-dose radiation exposure affects gene regulation and controls cellular response.   His work aims to provide the basis for identifying those factors that make cells susceptible to low-dose radiation.

Andrew Vaughan: Vaughan is professor of radiation biology and associate chief of staff for research and development at the VA Northern California.  His research centers on the fusion of certain genes that leads to development of leukemia in infants and in patients who have been exposed to radiation or chemotherapy for other cancer treatment.

Jerrold Bushberg: Bushberg is director of health physics programs and clinical professor of radiology and radiation oncology.  He is an expert on the biological effects and safety of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, has investigated numerous radiation overexposure incidents and serves as an expert to international and national advisory bodies on radiation exposure.  He is the scientific vice-president and board member of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement.  He also chairs its scientific advisory committee on Radiation Protection in Medicine.  Bushberg is appointed to the International Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Committee on Man and Radiation and serves as a member of the International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety, which evaluates the biological effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation and develops safety standards.  He also is a co-author of The Essential Physics of Medical Imaging.

David Rocke: Rocke is Distinguished Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Public Health Sciences.  His research explores the molecular mechanisms of the response of cells and tissues to low-dose radiation from environmental and occupational exposures.  He also researches possible genetic and environmental differences among people in response to radiation.

Medical physicist researchers:

John Boone:  Boone is one of a handful of physicists in the U.S. specializing in computed tomography (CT) and developed one of the first dedicated breast CT scanners.  He is chief science officer for the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and a co-author of the textbook, The Essential Physics of Medical Imaging.  He has published extensively on CT dosimetry, and he is currently writing a report for the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurement on radiation dose and image quality in CT.

Tony Seibert: Seibert is a medical physicist and president-elect of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.  He has served as an expert witness in radiation overdose cases, and is well-versed in state laws that govern radiation use.  He is a member of the Alliance for Radiation Safety, which operates the Image Gently campaign, focused on reducing childhood exposure to ionizing radiation.   He is also co-author of The Essential Physics of Medical Imaging.

Physician specialists/researchers:

Sandra Gorges: Gorges is UC Davis’ chief of pediatric imaging.  Gorges is an expert in the radiographic evaluation of child abuse, in pediatric oncology imaging and in pediatric neuro-imaging.  One of her research interests in pediatric imaging is dose reduction and appropriate utilization of resources in pediatric CT.

Ramit Lamba:  Lamba is assistant professor and chief of CT at UC Davis Medical Center.  He specializes in the use of CT for diagnosis, interventional procedures and management of diseases in the abdomen and pelvis.  His research focus is on the optimization of radiation dose for abdominal and pelvic CT exams.

Nate Kuppermann: Kuppermann is professor and chair of emergency medicine and professor of pediatrics at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. He has been studying the appropriate use of CT imaging in children for more than a decade.  He also is lead author of a widely-cited article recently published in Lancet on overuse of CT in children in the emergency room.  He is a lead investigator in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network, the first federally funded research network on pediatric emergency care in the United States.

James Holmes: Holmes is a professor in the Department of Emergency of Medicine.  He conducts research on trauma patients, including studies to determine indications of abdominal CT and head CT.  He can discuss balancing risks of missing important injuries versus risks of death from CT radiation-induced malignancies in both injured children and adults.

Basic scientists:

Wolf-Dietrich Heyer: Heyer is professor of microbiology and of molecular and cellular biology and leader of the UC Davis Cancer Center’s Molecular Oncology Program.  His research focuses on DNA repair, the process by which cells repair DNA and may become resistant to radiation therapy and other anti-cancer treatments.

Stephen Kowalczykowski: Kowalczykowski is Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and of molecular and cellular biology and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.  He is a pioneer in the analysis and visualization of DNA repair processes at the single-molecule level.