Colorado State Professor Receives Radiation Research Society’s First Distinguished Service Award

A long-time Colorado State University faculty member in radiation science has been presented the first Distinguished Service Award ever presented by the Radiation Research Society.

Mortimer Elkind, University Distinguished Professor and professor of radiological health, recently was recognized for his contributions to the field of radiation biology. His work is considered seminal in the use of radiation to treat cancer.

The Society’s goals are to advance radiation research in the natural sciences; to facilitate cooperative research between physics, chemistry, biology and medicine in the study of radiation; and to disseminate knowledge through publications, meetings and educational symposia.

A former program chairman, vice-president, president and past-president of the Society, Elkind earned its Fialla Memorial Award in 1984, given annually to an outstanding member of the research community in recognition significant contributions to radiation research. He has served the Society as a member or chair of a number of committees, including those for public policy, honors and awards and the 29th annual scientific meeting. He was its representative to the Washington-based National Coalition for Cancer Research, where he served on the board of directors.

His research has shown that , after exposure to radiation, surviving cells repair themselves, a finding that has led to a better understanding of how to adjust radiation exposures for maximum effect on tumors with the least harm to healthy tissue. He has helped establish the scientific basis for current radiation therapy. His contributions are considered so significant that the process by which cells repair radiation damage is known as Elkind repair.

Elkind has received numerous distinguished top awards for his scientific work. They include the E.O. Lawrence Award of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission; appointment as honorary fellow of the American College of Radiology; the first Henry S. Kaplan Distinguished Scientist Award from the International Association for Radiation Research; the Charles F. Kettering Prize from the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation; the Roentgen-Plakette Award from the German Roentgen-Museum; and the Fermi Award from the U. S. Department of Energy. He earned a Superior Service Award from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare; the Arthur W. Erskine Award from the Radiological society of North America; the Albert Soiland Memorial Award from the Albert Soiland Cancer Foundation; and was a gold medalist of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

The holder of four degrees, including a master’s and doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Elkind came to Colorado State in 1981 as department chairman. He was named one of Colorado State’s 12 University Distinguished Professors in 1986.