Distinguished Alumni Awardees

Each year a distinguished alumna or alumnus is given an award at the WSU Alumni Gathering during the annual AAPM conference. The award is voted on by current and former faculty and is both an expression of gratitude for all that the alum has done for WSU, and an acknowledgement of their contribution to the field of Medical Physics overall.

2018 Distinguished Alumnus

Jay Burmeister

Jay Burmeister
Jay Burmeister was appointed to the faculty of the Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1999 after completing his PhD in Medical Physics under the direction of Richard Maughan and Chandra Kota, with mentorship from Colin Orton, Gary Ezzell, and Paul DeLuca. He has led the Medical Physics Graduate Program since 2003, and has served as Chief of Physics for Karmanos Cancer Center and Director of the Radiation Oncology Physics Residency Program since 2007. He has served in numerous service and leadership roles for the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, American Society for Radiation Oncology, the American Board of Radiology, the Commission on the Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs, and the Society for Directors of Medical Physics Programs, and was elected Fellow of the AAPM in 2011. He has taught over 250 graduate students in medical physics and provided research mentorship for nearly 50 of these students.

"I have been fortunate to learn from incredible mentors in medical physics at WSU, including those listed before me on this page and too many more to name here. I consider it a great honor to pay this mentorship forward and to be able to participate in the education and training of the outstanding students here at WSU."

2017 Distinguished Alumnus

Michael Joiner

Michael Joiner

Michael Joiner remains Head of Radiobiology at the Karmanos Cancer Institute and the Graduate Officer of the Division of Radiation Oncology, Department of Oncology at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, where he teaches. He is also an internationally recognized radiobiologist and researcher who has spent more than 40 years investigating how clinical radiotherapy can be made more effective using both manipulations of the radiation delivery schedule and also by the addition of chemical or physical modifiers of effect.

Michael is an expert particularly in quantifying radiation effects, the medical physics of radiation delivery and application of high-LET radiotherapy. He discovered low-dose hyper-radiosensitivity, a major factor determining the extent of DNA repair following radiotherapy exposure. He has published more than 160 NCBI-cited peer-reviewed articles.

Before joining Wayne State University in 2001, Joiner spent 22 years at the Gray Laboratory in the UK, where he headed Experimental Oncology. Prior to this, he received his Masters degree from Cambridge University and his PhD in 1980 from the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. In 1999 he was made an honorary member of the Royal College of Radiologists for his services to them in teaching and examination.

Mike loves teaching. He is especially proud to have taught radiobiology continuously for more than 30 years, and continues to teach and direct, the international ESTRO Basic Clinical Radiobiology course which he gives all over the world. He serves as lead editor of the textbook, "Basic Clinical Radiobiology" now in its 5th edition.

"I am very proud indeed now to be labeled as distinguished, but in honesty this is only possible because of all the more distinguished physicists I work with here day on day"

2016 Distinguished Alumnus

Donald Peck

Donald Peck
Donald Peck received his MS in Radiological Physics from Wayne State University in 1992.  After obtaining his ABR certification in Diagnostic Radiological Physics in 1995 he returned to Oakland University and completed his PhD under Joe Windham in 1999.  He worked at Henry Ford Health System in the Department of Radiology since 1989 where he was the Division Head of Physics and the Vice Chair of Research and Physics.  He was a faculty member for the WSU Medical Physics Graduate Program for over 20 years.  Dr Peck has served as a member or chair for many committees within the AAPM, on exam committees in Radiography and Mammography for the ARRT and on the Radiology Residents Diagnostic Radiology Physics exam committee for the ABR.  He has been elected Fellow of both the ACR and AAPM.

"To paraphrase Richard Feynman; to really understand something you must be able to explain it to an audience that cannot follow the detailed mathematics or science. I've always tried to make this my goal and my experience with both the faculty and students at Wayne State University has allowed me to meet this goal."

2014 Distinguished Alumnus

Richard Maughan

Richard Maughan
Richard Maughan received his doctoral degree from the University of Birmingham in England.  He has held appointments at the Gray Laboratory in England, Wayne State University and the University of Pennsylvania where he is currently Professor, Vice Chair, and Director of Medical Physics.  Dr. Maughan served as a faculty member for WSU for nearly 20 years and led the development and implementation of fast neutron therapy at WSU.  He would then go on to lead the implementation of proton therapy at the University of Pennsylvania.  He has also been very active within the AAPM and CAMPEP and has been elected a Fellow of the AAPM.

"If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack."

2013 Distinguished Alumnus

Gary Ezzell

Gary Ezzell
A PhD graduate in Medical Physics from Wayne State University and former faculty member and director of clinical physics here for over 15 years, Dr. Ezzell currently serves as the Chief of the Physics Division at Mayo Clinic in Pheonix, Arizona. He was involved in the early development and clinical implementation of HDR brachytherapy.  He has actively served in numerous capacities within the AAPM since 1996 including Secretary, President, and Chairman of the Board of the AAPM, and has been elected Fellow of the AAPM.

"I really enjoyed teaching the radiation therapy physics classes at WSU - the students were highly motivated because this was to be their profession, and being a part of their development was a highlight of my career."

2012 Distinguished Alumnus

Colin Orton

Colin Orton
A PhD graduate in Radiation Physics from the University of London, England, Dr. Orton has held academic appointments at New York University School of Medicine, Brown University and, of course, Wayne State University where he is currently Professor Emeritus in the School of Medicine. Dr. Orton led the physics division and graduate program for over 20 years.  In addition, he has served as President of the AAPM, ACMP, IOMP, ABS, IUPESM, and IMPCB. He has published over 20 books and over 300 papers and chapters and served as the Editor of Medical Physics for 8 years.  He has been elected Fellow of the AAPM and ACMP and has been awarded both the Marvin M.D. Williams Award and the William D. Coolidge Award by the AAPM.

"Running the Wayne State University medical physics education programs was one of the highlights of my career.  I loved teaching and interacting with the students and felt privileged to have been able to play such a role in the development of their careers."

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Division of Radiation Oncology