ASTRO strengthens its research expertise with key hire in scientific affairs
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) recently welcomed Judy Keen, PhD, as its director of scientific affairs, a position created to grow research participation and collaboration in the field of radiation oncology.
As the ASTRO lead on scientific affairs, Keen will develop and implement initiatives that promote clinical, translational and basic radiation research, with the ultimate goal of advancing both science and evidence-based patient care throughout the radiation oncology community. Efforts involved in this push to grow research participation among radiation oncologists include managing the various funding mechanisms offered by ASTRO, such as its junior faculty awards and seed grants, as well as finding and promoting opportunities from external funding agencies to share with ASTRO members, which include nearly all practicing radiation oncologists in the United States.
Keen also will spearhead efforts to develop broader collaborations within the cancer research community, thereby responding to the growing need to eradicate the silos that can impede scientific progress. Among other roles, Keen will serve as ASTRO’s primary scientific liaison to internal and external partners involved in performing and promoting biomedical research, including the ASTRO Science Council, federal agencies, other medical societies, coalitions, the biopharmaceutical industry, and policymakers.
Keen brings a wealth of diverse experience conducting and managing research projects to her new position. Prior to joining ASTRO, Keen was director of research collaborations for the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), where she led scientific oversight for multiple programs. Before NBCC, she worked at the National Cancer Institute within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), first as a health science analyst in the Office of Science Planning and Assessment, then as program director for the NIH Genotype Tissue Expression (GTEx) project within the Biorepository and Biospecimen Research Branch. The GTEx effort included curating a collection of genomic and clinical data from more than 900 donors that was designed to explore genetic variability in humans and the changes that lead to disease. Keen also spent several years as an assistant professor in the department of medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where she focused on ways to improve responses to chemotherapy in breast cancer.
Keen earned her doctorate in physiology and completed her postdoctoral training in breast cancer research at Johns Hopkins University in its Schools of Public Health and Medicine, respectively. She also earned a master of science degree in biotechnology from Hopkins and a bachelor of science degree in biology from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.
“Judy understands the fundamental role of research and science in helping radiation oncology teams provide the best possible care to their patients, which we can see from her extensive background both conducting research and promoting scientific activities,” said Laura Thevenot, chief executive officer of ASTRO. “I welcome her expertise and look forward to leveraging ASTRO’s position as the world’s premier radiation oncology society to further advance scientific knowledge within radiation biology and oncology.”
Erin L. Boyle
ASTRO is the premier radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals that specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through professional education and training, support for clinical practice and health policy standards, advancement of science and research, and advocacy. ASTRO publishes three medical journals, International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (www.redjournal.org), Practical Radiation Oncology (www.practicalradonc.org) and Advances in Radiation Oncology (www.advancesradonc.org); developed and maintains an extensive patient website, RT Answers (www.rtanswers.org); and created the Radiation Oncology Institute (www.roinstitute.org), a nonprofit foundation to support research and education efforts around the world that enhance and confirm the critical role of radiation therapy in improving cancer treatment. To learn more about ASTRO, visit www.astro.org.