When Tyler Robin, MD, PhD, graduates from the Radiation Oncology Residency Program at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus at the end of June, he won’t have to move far – after graduation, Robin will make the leap from trainee to researcher, joining CU faculty as an assistant professor in the CU School of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology where he hopes to be involved with clinical trials testing new uses of radiation as a component of cancer care. A New Investigator Award from the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) and NRG Oncology will help Robin expand the scope of his clinical trial involvement to the national level, while bringing new, innovative clinical trials to cancer patients in Colorado.
“The award isn’t to support a specific project, but to bring you into that group – to get you involved in national studies done through that organization for gynecologic cancers. It’s an opportunity for three years of mentorship, a springboard into a more senior role in running radiation oncology clinical trials,” Robin says.
The faculty appointment along with this award positions Robin to join the field in a time of dramatic change for the use of radiation in the treatment of cancer. More precisely targeted techniques make radiation appropriate for more patients in more settings with reduced side effects. And new understanding of radiation’s ability to sensitize the immune system to cancer is leading to breakthroughs in the use of treatments that combine radiation with immunotherapies and genetically targeted treatments.
“Tyler has been exceptionally productive during his residency, and we are thrilled that he will be staying on the faculty with us. The GOG award is a wonderful mechanism to add external mentorship to complement what he will already be receiving from Drs. Christine Fisher and TJ Pugh, among others in the department, as he launches what I anticipate will be an outstanding academic career,” says Brian Kavanagh, MD, MPH, FASTRO, professor and chair of Radiation Oncology at CU Cancer Center, and immediate past chair of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).
In addition to treating cancer patients and testing cutting-edge therapies, Robin has also been involved during his residency in disseminating what we already know about cancer treatment to underserved areas of the world. Working with colleague Patricia Hardenbergh, MD, and others, Robin led the expansion of ChartRounds.com, an online, case-based interactive instructional program for oncologists, to India. The platform allows bi-monthly teaching sessions in which oncologists in India can discuss challenging cases with regional experts.
“This all-volunteer initiative is now thriving and serving the educational needs of literally hundreds of radiation and other oncologists in India,” says Kavanagh.
“This award will open up a lot of opportunities for me, nationally, and also help to bring new clinical trials to Colorado patients who could benefit,” Robin says.