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Sara Rockwell, PhD, FASTRO

Professor Emeritus of Therapeutic Radiology



Sara Rockwell received her B.S. in Physics in from Penn State in 1965 and her Ph.D. in Biophysics from Stanford in 1971. She received postdoctoral training as a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University and as an Attache de Recherche at the Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France. In 1974 she joined the faculty of the Yale University School of Medicine and is now Professor of Therapeutic Radiology and Pharmacology. Professor Rockwell taught radiation biology, pharmacology, cancer biology, ethics, and career development skills in several Yale courses and lecture series. Her laboratory research focused on studying the unphysiological microenvironments of cells within solid tumors, with the goal of improving the treatment of cancer. She was among the first researchers to study the effects of hypoxia on the response of malignant cells in culture and solid tumors in vivo to radiation, anticancer drugs, and combined modality therapy and among the first to consider the implications of the hypoxia found in microscopic tumors for the development and evolution of solid malignancies. The results of this research have been published in over 200 scientific publications and presented in over 250 papers at national and international scientific meetings. Professor Rockwell has received numerous awards for her educational and research activities, including election to membership in the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering and selection as a Fellow of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

Professor Rockwell had served on advisory panels for the NIH, DOD, NASA, OSTP and other governmental agencies, the American Cancer Society, other voluntary health organizations, and several universities. She served a two-year term as chair of the NCI Initial Review Group for Clinical Research Studies. She was an active member of several professional societies and had served on the editorial boards of five scientific journals. She served as the Editor-in-Chief of Radiation Research, the official journal of the Radiation Research Society and the preeminent multidisciplinary journal in the radiation sciences.

Dr. Rockwell also served as the Associate Dean for Scientific Affairs for the Yale School of Medicine. She directed the Evaluation Program for the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (Yale’s CTSA), served on the executive committee of the YCCI, and represented the YCCI on several committees of the national CTSA network. She was also the Medical School’s representative to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Research and Development. In addition, she served as Yale University’s designated Faculty Representative to the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) and recently completed a term as the chair of the FDP faculty committee and vice chair of the FDP.

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellow
    Stanford University (1974)
  • Attache de Recherche
    Institut Gustave Roussy (1973)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
    Stanford University (1972)
  • PhD
    Stanford University (1971)
  • BS
    Penn State University

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
Distinguished AlumnaThe Pennsylvania State University2011
Distinguished Service AwardRadiation Research Society2010
R F Kallman LecturerStanford University2010
Elected FellowAmerican Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO)2009
Elected MemberConnecticut Academy of Science & Engineering2007
Virginia Logan Lectureship for Contributions in the Field of Tumor BiologyDepartment of Radiation Oncology and Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Medical College2004
John Yuhas Award for Outstanding Research in Radiation BiologyThe Pennsylvania State University1998
CURE AwardConnecticut United for Research Excellence1994
Frances Lou Kallman Memorial Award for outstanding Ph.D. candidate in Biological Sciences Stanford University1971
Outstanding SeniorThe Pennsylvania State University1965
Elected MemberPhi Kappa Phi1965
Elected MemberMortarboard1964
Elected MemberAlpha Lambda Delta1962

Professional Service

RADIATION RESEARCH SOCIETYRepresentative to AIBS Council (2001-present) Editor-in-Chief, Radiation Research (2000-present) Governing Council (2000-present) Executive Committee (2000-present) Finance Committee (2000-present) Electronic Publications Task Force (2000-2004) Program Committee (1999-2000) Fundraising Committee (1998-2001) Committee on Women in Radiation Research (1995-1998) Annual Meeting Site Selection and Policy Committee (1981-1984, 1987-1989, 1992-1995) Research Award Selection Committee (1986-1988, Chair, 1987-1988) Ad Hoc Committee on Publications (1986-1987) Councilor (At-large) (l985-1988) Nominating Committee (1983-1984) Constitution and Bylaws Committee (1977-1978)
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR CANCER RESEARCHMember, Centennial Committee (2006-2008) Member, Grant Review Committee (2005-2007) Member, Program Committee (2004-2005, Chair, Preclinical Radiotherapeutics Subcommittee) Member, Committee to choose the 2002 AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend, Memorial Lecturer (2001-2002) State Legislative Committee for Connecticut (1992-1995, 1998-2000, Chair 1998-2000) Membership Committee (1993-1994) Cain Award Subcommittee (1994-1995) Member, Women in Cancer Research Councilor WICR (2004-2006)
AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THERAPEUTIC RADIOLOGY AND ONCOLOGYRadiobiology Practice Exam and Study Subcommittee of the Research Council (2008-present) Radiobiology and Cancer Biology Teaching and Curriculum Subcommittee (2006-2008) Nominating Committee, Radiobiology representative (2006-2007) Membership Committee (1997-2004) Cancer and Radiation Biology Committee (1998-2001) Education Committee (1998-2000) Radiobiology Committee (1992-1995) Research Fellowship Selection Committee (1993-1995) Ad Hoc Boards Syllabus Committee (1986-1988)
AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCESCouncil Member, representing the Radiation Research Society (2001-present) Member, BiOne Advisory Committee (2003-present) Member, Board of Directors, BioOne (2007-present)
THE CELL PROLIFERATION SOCIETY (1976-1989)President (1982-1983) Vice-President (1981-1982) Councilor (1980-1981) Treasurer (1977-1979) Long Range Planning Committee (1983-1987) Shiffer Speaker Selection Committee (1985-1988) Nominating Committee (1991-1992) Program Committee (1991-1992) Journal Liaison Committee (1981-1984) Chair, Program Committee (l98l-1982) Chair, Public Relations Committee (1979-1981)
CONNECTICUT ACADEMY OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERINGMember, Selection Committee, CT Medal of Science (2007) Member, Selection Committee, Honorees for Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame (2008)
BIOELECTROMAGNETICS SOCIETYAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of University Women (National and CT Chapter), National Council of University Research Administrators, Association for Women in Science (National and CT Chapter), World Association of Medical Editors
UNIVERSITY COMMITTEES AND ACTIVITIESPrivacy and Security Committee (2010-present) Provost’s Committee on Access to Scholarly Publications (2010-present) Human Research Protection Program Steering Committee (2010-present) Review and approve all requests for exceptions to Yale Policy on PI status for investigators in Yale School of Medicine (2010-present) Yale Center for Clinical Investigation Director, Tracking and Evaluation Program (2008-present) Executive Committee (2007-present) CARE (Community Alliance for Research Enhancement) Committee (2007-present) Yale Cancer Center, Executive Committee (2007-present) LCME Self-assessment Taskforce (2006-2007) Search Committee for Director of OEHS (2006-2007) Senior Appointments and Promotions Committee, School of Medicine (2005-2007) Cancer Center Program Committee, Dean’s Representative (2004-2007) Search Committee for Chair of the Section of Comparative Medicine (2003-2005) HIPAA Research Implementation Committee (2002-2003) Animal Resources Executive Committee (2001-present) BL3 Facilities Advisory Committee (Chair, 2001-present) Comparative Medicine Advisory Committee (2000-present) Research Compliance Committee (2000-present) IRB Leadership Group (2000-present) Member, Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics (previously called the Bioethics Program) (2000-present) Chemical Safety Committee (1998-2002) Grant Review Panel, Ethel F. Donaghue Women’s Health Investigator Program (1998-present) Provost’s Conflict of Interest Committee and Conflict of Commitment (1997-present) (Interim Chair 2006-2007) University Safety Committee (1997-present) Biological Safety Committee (1996-present) Human Gene Therapy Subcommittee (1997-present) Radiation Safety Committee (1996-present) (Interim Chair, 2003 and 2006) Laser Safety Subcommittee (2009-present) Yale Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (1987-93 and 1996-present) Animal Users Committee (1996-2001) Provost’s Working Group on Corporate Interactions (1996-2000) Funds and Fellowships Committee (ex officio, 1996-present) Scholars Awards Committee (ex officio, 1996-present) Yale Animal Resources Advisory Committee (1996-2001) University Task Force on Animal Research (1996-present) Advisory Board, Yale Women's Health Program (1996-2000) Biotechnology Resources Advisory Committee (1996-1998) Co-Chair, Brown-Coxe Fellowship Committee (1996) Packard Fellowship Nominating Committee (1996) Medical School Council (1995-1996) Medical School Council Steering Committee (1995-1996) Tenure Allocation Subcommittee, Planning and Priorities Committee (1994-1996) Membership Committee, Yale Cancer Center (1994-2007) Search Committee for Chair of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, and Diagnostic Imaging, Yale-New Haven Hospital (1994-1995) Member, Board of Permanent Officers, Yale University School of Medicine (1989-present) Chair, Research Irradiator Core Facilities User Committee (1988-present) Medical School Peer Review Committee, reviewing cases of possible violations of the Union 34 Contract in hiring University staff members (1986) Chair, Cancer Center Committee for Review of Applications for Funds from the American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant (1984-1991) Member, Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center (1983-present) Medical School Animal Care Advisory Committee (1977-1983) Cancer Center Committee for Allocation of Resources (1982-1983)
UNIVERSITY APPOINTMENTS TO EXTERNAL AGENCIESRepresentative of Yale Center for Clinical Investigation to committees of the national CTSA Network (2008-present): Member, Clinical Research Management Group Member, Evaluation Group Member, Regulatory Knowledge Group. Yale School of Medicine Representative, AAMC Group on Research Advancement and Development (2006-present): Member, Forum on Conflict of Interest in Academia (2006-present). Dean’s Representative – Research Strategic Planning Committee, VA Connecticut Healthcare System (2002-present) Yale University Faculty Representative (voting delegate) – Federal Demonstration Partnership (2002- present): Faculty Liaison, Research Compliance Committee (2008-present) Faculty Liaison, Ad Hoc Committee to follow up on Faculty Administrative Burden Survey (2008-present) Member, Faculty Steering Committee (2005-present) Member, Federal Demonstration Partnership Finance Committee (2007-2008) Vice Chair, Federal Demonstration Partnership Executive Committee (2007-2008) Faculty Representative to Federal Demonstration Partnership Executive Committee (2007-2008): Chair, Faculty Committee (2007-2008) Member, Faculty Administrative Burden Committee (2002-2006) Member, Select Agents Committee (2002-2004)

Departments & Organizations