UC San Diego Shapes the Next Generation for Careers in Academic Medicine

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From left to right: Sameer Nath, MD; Brent Rose, MD; and Daniel Simpson, MD.

T32 awardees Nath, Rose and Simpson become junior faculty

April 1, 2016 | Patti Wieser

They were like the three musketeers of radiation oncology training, swapping swords for therapies in the battle against cancer. The year was 2009. Sameer Nath, Brent Rose, and Daniel Simpson – then UC San Diego medical students – were supported by T32 (now TL1) training grants along their path to becoming clinical investigators. Now each is a junior faculty member: Nath at Yale University; Rose and Simpson at UC San Diego.

“The grant did exactly what it was intended to do. Each received education and training, completed a residency, and now has a faculty position,” said Carolyn Kelly, MD, director of the TL1 program at the UC San Diego Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI). The T32 rolled into the TL1 program, which is aimed at providing training in clinical research for students enrolled in health sciences doctoral programs.

Loren Mell, MD, was a mentor to all three. Nath, Rose, and Simpson were the first students to work with him after he joined UC San Diego as a junior faculty member in 2008.

“Together they comprised a veritable triple-threat, providing some much needed academic firepower to our burgeoning radiation oncology program,” said Mell, now an associate professor in the Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences at UC San Diego. “I was impressed by both the breadth and depth of their commitment to academic excellence and their willingness to take on intellectually challenging tasks. More importantly, they routinely exhibited their genuine compassion for patients, even caring for my own grandmother while she was a patient here.”

He further described Nath, Rose, and Simpson as “a credit to our specialty and to academic medicine in particular.” Mell, who also has been supported by the CTRI through the KL2 grant program and at the University of Chicago through the T35 program, added, “I am immensely proud of their collective success and look forward to their contributions to medical science.”

The radiation oncology trio was supported for one year through the T32, resulting in Simpson and Nath receiving master’s degrees and Rose receiving support for fulltime research. Read their brief bios below and about how the grant influenced their careers

Sameer Nath, MD, is a radiation oncologist who specializes in treating cancer of the lung, central nervous system and head and neck cancers. As an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Therapeutic Radiology/Radiation Oncology at Yale University School of Medicine, Nath trains Yale medical students and residents pursuing careers in radiation oncology. His research interests include identifying a blood-based biomarker for lung cancer, as well as clinical outcomes and comparative effectiveness research using large national cancer databases.

He has co-authored approximately 30 articles and book chapters and been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Nature Medicine, and the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology and Physics.

Nath received his medical degree from the UC San Diego School of Medicine in 2010 and completed his residency in radiation oncology at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., in 2015 after serving as chief resident. He became a junior faculty member at Yale in 2015.

“The T32 grant was instrumental in my training and provided me with the opportunity to obtain a master’s degree in clinical research at UC San Diego,” Nath said. “From this training, I learned the basic skills for conducting high quality clinical research, which has allowed me to contribute to many clinical investigations. I am thankful to have had the experience!”

Brent Rose, MD, is a radiation oncologist. He received his medical degree from UC San Diego School of Medicine in 2010. Here, he extended his medical school training to complete an NIH-funded research program (T32) and a post-doctoral research fellowship. During this time, his research focused on modeling the effect of radiation on normal tissues and developing techniques to reduce the risk of normal tissue toxicity. Rose was also actively involved in research methods to account for competing risks in oncology. His publications include 21 peer-reviewed original research manuscripts, four commentaries and invited reviews, and four textbook chapters.

After his training, he completed his internship at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston before joining the residency at the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program. He is joining the faculty at UC San Diego as an assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Medicine in 2016 when he completes his residency.

“The T32 program provided grant funding to support my research time in the radiation oncology department. In addition to the publications that I was able to produce, this time was very important to develop the research skills that will be useful for the rest of my career,” Rose said.

Daniel R. Simpson, MD, is a radiation oncologist who specializes in treating cancer of the liver, gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). As an assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Simpson instructs medical students and residents. His research interests include novel imaging techniques, immunotherapy, image-guided radiotherapy and adaptive radiotherapy.

He has authored or co-authored 20 peer-reviewed articles, 18 abstracts and six book chapters, and his work has been published in journals such as the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Oral Oncology, and International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, among others. Simpson also serves as reviewer for numerous medical journals.

During his medical training, Simpson completed his internship in internal medicine at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, Calif., and his radiation oncology residency at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He received his medical degree from UC San Diego School of Medicine in 2010 and obtained a master of advanced studies in clinical research from the School of Graduate Studies. He became a faculty member at UC San Diego in 2015.

“The T32 grant provided me with an invaluable opportunity to complete coursework in clinical research design, biostatistics, and grant writing while simultaneously conducting clinical research as a medical student. This experience helped me to develop my skills as a clinical translational scientist and strengthened my aspirations to pursue a career in academic medicine,” said Simpson.