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The Department of Radiation Oncology was established as an independent department in 2001 having been a division of the Department of Radiology since 1973. Initially the treatment devices were housed on the north-east corner of the Med Lab buildings but were moved to General Hospital near the “fountain entrance” in the mid 1980s. When Dr. John Buatti joined the University of Iowa in 1999 he moved to establish an independent department and started construction of a new facility.

When opened in July 2005 the Center of Excellence in Image Guided Radiation Therapy boasted state-of-the art image and treatment machines. This set a new standard for tumor visualization and treatment accuracy. Along with the ability to better visualize tumors came innovations in High Dose Rate brachytherapy, MRI guidance and Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy. Our department set the standard-of-care for Stereotactic Radiation Therapy. Ten years later, the department installed two newer Elekta Versa HD Linear accelerators, allowing for greater speed and flexibility in treating a range of malignancies.

FRRBP Division 

The Radiation Research Laboratory (RRL) was established in 1947 and began operation in the Spring of 1948 with Dr T.C. Evans, as Research Professor of Radiology and Director of the Radiation Research Laboratory.

Besides its teaching effort, the RRL developed radionuclide procedures for use on campus in patient studies and in animal research. RRL served as the University of Iowa’s nuclear medicine installation from 1948-1964 since all procedures utilizing radionuclides in humans were performed here.

In 1961, a graduate program in Radiation Biology was established. In 1963, a Radiation Safety Office was established as was a Division of Nuclear Medicine. The RRL began became a Division of Radiology in 1973 and in the early 1990's, a section of Radiation Oncology, one of the Divisions of the Department of Radiology.

Effective with the Fall semester of 2000, the name of the graduate program was changed to Free Radical and Radiation Biology Program (FRRBP), to reflect the broadening of the scientific emphasis in the program. The FRRBP represents the first PhD program in the world that combines the disciplines of cancer biology, radiation biology and free radical/redox biology.

 On July 1, 2001, Radiation Oncology was established as an independent department that encompassed not only the clinical activities, but also the FRRBP.

Titus Evans was the Head of RRL and Director of the Graduate Program in Radiation Biology from 1948-1975. J.W. Osborne served in these roles from 1975-1993. M. Robbins became Director of Research in 1993 while Osborne continued as Director of the Graduate Program.

In September, 1998, L. Oberley assumed the Directorship of the Graduate Program and leadership of the Division. Douglas R. Spitz became the professor and head, succeeding Larry Oberley on his passing in 2008 and served until June 2023. The present head of the FRRBP is Andrean Simons-Burnett, PhD  >> Full history