UNC radiation oncologist receives national honor

September 23, 2008 — Joel E. Tepper, M.D., professor of radiation oncology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, is being honored by the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology (ASTRO) as one of two recipients of the organization’s Gold Medal Award.

The medal, ASTRO’s highest honor, is given to members the society says have made outstanding contributions to the field of radiation oncology, including research, clinical care, teaching and service. Tepper will receive his award Tuesday (Sept. 23) during ASTRO's 50th annual meeting in Boston.

The award recognizes achievements such as Tepper’s pioneering work in the use of intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), when radiation therapy is administered during surgery so that higher doses can be given without damage to surrounding tissue. He was also one of the first physicians involved in treating patients with proton therapy, a technique that uses special radiation beams to enhance delivery of radiation.

Tepper, a past president and chair of ASTRO’s board, is the Hector MacLean Distinguished Professor of Cancer Research and a professor of radiation oncology at the School of Medicine. He served as chair of the radiation oncology department for 20 years. He is a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and served as its associate director for clinical research and on the protocol review committee. He is co-chair of the National Cancer Institute’s gastrointestinal steering committee and serves on the clinical and translational advisory committee, which oversees the institute’s clinical trials and translational research.

Prior to joining UNC, Tepper was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and a senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute. He earned his B.S. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, and his M.D. at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. He completed his residency and fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

UNC Lineberger contact: Dianne Shaw (9190 966-5905, dgs@med.unc.edu
News Services contact: Patric Lane, (919) 962-8596, patric_lane@unc.edu