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Chapel Hill, NC – Lawrence B. Marks, MD, chairman of the UNC Department of Radiation Oncology, has been appointed the Dr. Sidney K. Simon Distinguished Professor of Oncology Research at UNC-Chapel Hill. The professorship, established by a $500K gift from Wally (class of ’66) and Lil Loewenbaum of Austin, Texas, is named in honor of Mr. Loewenbaum’s grandfather, Dr. Sidney K. Simon.

“Dr. Marks is a national and international leader in the area of radiation oncology with research spanning the basic to clinical continuum. He is developing analyses and trials which seek to maximize radiation therapy’s effectiveness while minimizing damage to healthy tissues. His work on human factors in the radiation oncology clinic is receiving broad attention and is having a positive influence on patient safety across the United States ,” said Shelley Earp, MD, director of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Dr. Marks is a thoughtful and energetic leader who has built UNC’s Department of Radiation Oncology into a thriving clinical and research enterprise that not only provides outstanding patient care but also trains therapists, dosimetrists and young physicians in this rapidly-evolving field,” said William L. Roper, MD, MPH, Dean of the UNC School of Medicine and CEO of the UNC Health Care System.

“The Loewenbaums support recognizes the need to enhance his work improving the safety and effectiveness of radiation therapy, not only at UNC, but nationwide,” he added.

Dr. Marks is a recognized expert in the treatment of patients with breast and lung cancer. The thrust of his work has been aimed at improving the therapeutic ratio of radiation therapy, largely through reducing the normal tissue effects of radiation. He has conducted many prospective clinical trials to better understand radiation-induced lung and heart injury for patients receiving radiation to the chest. He is currently funded by grants received from the National Institutes of Health to conduct studies to better understanding the physiologic and dose-related causes of radiation-induced cardiopulmonary injury.

He is a national leader in studying the frequency and causes of “human-errors” in the radiation oncology clinic. This work has led to the implementation of guidelines successfully reducing such errors, and hence enhances patient safety. He has published and lectured about this sensitive issue, and serves on several national panels addressing this issue.

He is a member of the American Society of Radiation Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

Prior to joining UNC as chair in 2008, Dr. Marks was the Banks Anderson, Sr., M.D., professor of radiation oncology at Duke University, where he also directed the residency training program. He earned his MD at the University of Rochester and completed his residency in radiation medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital.