Thomas B. Borak, Ph.D 1942-2021
We mourn the death of Professor Thomas B. Borak, Ph.D on January 25, 2021. Tom was a long time Professor of Health Physics in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences at Colorado State University. He was a highly regarded instructor at the NASA Space Radiation Summer School and an active space radiation research investigator, most recently assisting in research to develop radiation monitors for use by NASA astronauts. An obituary may be found at https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/ft-collins-co/thomas-borak-10023515.
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R. J. Michael Fry, MD 1925-2017
We were greatly saddened to learn that R.J. Michael Fry died peacefully Friday evening (November 24, 2017) at age 92 due to the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He and his wife Shirley, 3 sons and their families and 8 grandchildren had just celebrated Thanksgiving together the day before. It is indeed sad news: Michael was a source of inspiration for all of us who were fortunate enough to know him, a model of scientific integrity and graciousness, quite apart from his widely recognized qualities as a scientist. He contributed to THREE for many years. and was an Associate Editor for many of them. His death is a loss to the world scientific community, to which he made many signal contributions as a radiobiologist and to NASA in particular, for which he oversaw the generation of guidelines for radiation protection in space over several decades.
[For a more extensive obituary, xf. John D. Boice Jr., Amy Kronenberg, and Robert L. Ullrich "R. J. Michael Fry, MD
1925-2017," Radiation Research 189(1), 1-4, (1 January 2018). https://doi.org/10.1667/RRRJMF.1]
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James M. Slater, MD (1929-2018)
James M. Slater, MD, who pioneered the world's first hospital-based proton treatment center at Loma Linda University Health, died December 26, 2018. He was 89. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Mary JoAnn Strout, and by his five children, Jim, Julie, Jan, Jerry, and Jon, 14 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. He was a devoted husband and father.
James Munroe Slater was born in 1929 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated from the University of Utah, in 1955 with a bachelor's degree in physics, and obtained his M.D. from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in 1963. He trained as a resident at both LDS Hospital in Utah and White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles and completed a National Institutes of Health Fellowship at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He accepted the invitation to return to Loma Linda University Health in 1970 and chaired the Department of Radiation Medicine at Loma Linda University for more than 20 years.
The James M. Slater, M.D. Proton Treatment and Research Center - which opened in 1990 - has since treated more than 18,000 patients from around the world. When the Loma Linda University Medical Center Proton Treatment Center opened in 1990, it was the only place in the world to offer proton therapy for patient treatment and research in a hospital setting. It would remain the only hospital-based treatment center of its kind in the United States until 2003. In 2007, it was renamed the James M. Slater, M.D. Proton Treatment and Research Center in his honor. Today there are approximately 25 proton therapy centers in operation, with another 11 centers under construction or in development, according to the National Association for Proton Therapy.
Slater described the compassion he felt for his patients in a documentary, The Convergence of Disciplines. During his residency training in radiology, he said, "[It] was a shocking experience to see how ill we made our patients. During treatment they became very, very sick. Some of them had to stop treatment and recuperate for a week or so before they could come back. This reduced their chance for a cure and caused misery for them as an individual and for their family."
Slater also maintained an enthusiastic interest in space radiation problems. He enjoyed telling the story of how he had lunch with one of us (WS) in the basement restaurant of the Hamburg City Hall, where we both were attending the 30th Scientific Assembly of the Committee for Space Research (COSPAR), in July 1994 and we realized that NASA and Loma Linda had essentially complementary interests.
At the time, NASA was seriously concerned about access to a charged particle accelerator capable of simulating the space radiation environment. The only particle accelerator capable of delivering the full spectrum of particles present in space, the Berkeley BEVALAC, was shut down by DOE, and budget for NSRL had not yet been approved. LLU beams were capable of providing some of the knowledge required, especially with relation to solar particle events whose major impact is on EVAs.
LLU had established a superb clinical facility, but needed to develop the research capability required to provide a scientific basis for treatment planning. The relevant radiobiology has significant overlap with the radiation biology required to predict the risks to astronauts exposed to space radiation.
Accordingly, as a result of this conversation, Slater and Schimmerling initiated a Memorandum of Agreement between NASA and Loma Linda University, concerning cooperation in radiation biology and physics and their application to medicine. It was signed, in December 1994, by Joan Vernikos, Director of the NASA Life and Biomedical Sciences and Applications Division, and by David B. Hinshaw, Sr. President, Loma Linda University Medical Center, with the Loma Linda Congressional Representative, the Hon. Jerry Lewis, attending. The main objectives of this MOA were to provide access to accelerated proton beams and related research laboratories for NASA-sponsored investigators; provide for contribution of NASA-sponsored investigators to the academic and educational programs of LLU; and, to facilitate transfer of technical expertise between NASA and LLU in areas of radiation physics and radiation biology.
These objectives were achieved, as LLU has provided, and continues to provide, beams for NASA investigators, including a successful series of studies of space suits. A major contribution has also been coordination between LLU and NSRL hardware, so that experiments can be conducted at either laboratory using the same irradiation equipment. LLU has achieved a credible research capability, as evidenced by successful competition for NASA research grants by their scientists. The LLU Medical Center and investigators working there continue to make significant contributions to the NASA Space Radiation Program Element under the guidance of Nelson, who was recruited from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and who led the early development of the current LLU research capability.
None of this would have been possible without the determination of a soft-spoken, gentle, modest man of far-reaching vision, James Slater. He was a visionary, a pioneer, and a medical and scientific leader. He was also, I am humbly proud to say, a teacher and a friend. He will be sorely missed.
Gregory A. Nelson
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David Boothman, Ph.D. (1958-2019)
We are saddened to learn that our longtime Associate Editor, David Boothman, Ph.D., died from a stroke on November 1, 2019. David was the Sid and Lois Eskenazi Chair of Oncology, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Associate Director of Translational Research, at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. An inter-faith memorial service is being planned for spring 2020.
Dr. Boothman grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and earned his B.S. at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He did his graduate work in microbiology and immunology at the University of Miami Medical School, where he received his Ph.D. under the mentorship of Dr. Sheldon Greer. His research focused on the biochemistry and pharmacology of anticancer drugs, specifically 5-fluoro-deoxycytidine derivatives.
He did postdoctoral research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Harvard Medical School with Dr. Arthur B. Pardee. There, he investigated changes in several aspects of cancer cells before and after cell stress: cell cycle checkpoint regulation, molecular biology, and gene expression. His studies on β-lapachone as a radiosensitizer and DNA repair inhibitor began at this time. Dr. Boothman also discovered and cloned the first proteins and transcripts induced by ionizing radiation (IR).
In 1990, Dr. Boothman became Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and continued his investigations of x-ray-inducible proteins and x-ray-inducible transcripts leading to proteins. He discovered xip8 (clusterin) and its induction by super-low levels of IR exposure. Dr. Boothman then joined the faculty in the Department of Human Oncology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he rose to Associate Professor with tenure and became the Vice Chairman of Radiation Oncology, and Division Head of Molecular Radiation Oncology.
In 1998, Dr. Boothman accepted an Endowed Professorship at Case Western Reserve University and, in 2005, Dr. Boothman and his close colleague Dr. Jinming Gao moved to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center to start the Cell Stress and Cancer Nanomedicine Program.
In 2017, Dr. Boothman moved to his current position at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
David was an Associate Editor of THREE since 2013 and his enthusiasm and wise counsel will be remembered by all of us, who were fortunate to be counted among his friends and colleagues and to be impressed with his scientific acumen and understanding, Those of us who also were privileged to know David through his commitment to teaching on the NASA Summer School were immediately impressed by his keenness to maximize the learning experience for the students, as well as by his well-deserved reputation as a mentor.
Marianne B. Sowa
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