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2023 STEM Careers in Radiation Oncology

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Over half of all cancer patients receive some form of radiation therapy as part of their care. In this context, the department of Radiation Oncology at Stanford University has a long history of developing cutting-edge technologies that meaningfully improve the treatment of these devastating cancers. In this overview, members of our program will showcase different the different career options available in Radiation Oncology. 

In our department, interdisciplinary teams of oncologists, physicists, researchers, dosimetrists, nurses, and radiation therapists work together to plan and deliver optimal radiation treatments that target the tumor while sparing the surrounding normal tissues. Radiation therapy involves advanced technologies and requires STEM skills including physics, engineering, math, and biology

As an academic program, the department also trains new professionals through residency programs in Radiation Therapy and Medical Physics, and through a graduate PhD program in biomedical physics.

This presentation will be of interest to undergraduate students considering careers in the healthcare, biomedical research, or biomedical physics and engineering. Students from community colleges in the Bay Area and beyond are especially welcome to attend. Our panel of experts will be available at the end of the presentation for any questions you may have regarding radiation oncology.


Guillem Pratx, PhD

Associate Professor, Host

Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Medical Physics

Guillem Pratx, PhD is an Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics at Stanford University. Originally from the south of France, he studied engineering at Ecole Centrale Paris, and then went on to get a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, during which time he developed several innovative instruments and algorithms for in vivo cancer imaging. The Physical Oncology Laboratory, which he leads, investigates how novel physical approaches can solve longstanding problems in oncology. For instance, they use single-cell radionuclide imaging to measure the uptake of clinical PET tracers in heterogeneous cell populations and, in this way, derive a new interpretation of PET scans that accounts for factors such as cell diversity, microenvironmental factors and cell metabolism. Other areas of investigation include methods and probes for in vivo cell tracking and physical models of radiation therapy. Prof. Pratx was named a Damon Runyon Innovator and a Society of Nuclear Medicine Young Investigator. He has published over 90 papers and been principal investigator on grants from the NIHDoD and CIRM.


Carol Marquez, MD

Clinical Professor

Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Therapy

Dr. Carol Marquez is a radiation oncologist and the medical director of the Stanford Cancer Center in South Bay. Dr. Marquez received her undergraduate degree from Harvard, and went on to the University of California San Francisco for medical school and radiation oncology residency. She pursued a fellowship in Radiommunotherapy and Radiosensitizers from Stanford, and worked at the Oregon Health and Sciences University for 23 years before returning to Stanford. 

In her clinical practice, she specializes in breast cancer, but treats a broad spectrum of cancers including prostate, lung, colon, lymphoma, and brain tumors. Dr. Marquez has conducted research on surgical decision-making, advanced treatment of prostate cancer, and the effectiveness of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in treating larger brain tumors. Dr. Marquez is an educator of future radiation oncologists as a clinical professor in the Stanford University School of Medicine


Ignacio Omar Romero, PhD

Medical Physics Resident, PGY3

Stanford University, Department of Radiation Oncology

Ignacio Romero received his B.S in Physics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2016. In 2018, Ignacio received his M.S in Medical Physics from San Diego State University where his thesis focused on quantitative MR imaging techniques. In 2022, he obtained his PhD in Bioengineering from University of California, Merced. Ignacio’s doctoral research focused on functional X-ray imaging techniques for preclinical applications. Ignacio joined the Stanford University Medical Physics Residency in 2022. During his residency training, Ignacio's research has focused on automation and treatment planning. Ignacio’s career goal is to use the skills obtained from his graduate research and residency training to help improve healthcare and medical education in the California Central Valley.


Maria G. Vega

Medical Dosimetrist

Department of Radiation Oncology

Maria Vega is currently a Medical Dosimetrist at Stanford Healthcare. She began her career at Foothill College in Radiation Therapy. Once a therapist, Maria’s curiosity and passion for education led her to receive on-the-job training in the field of Dosimetry. She received her Dosimetry training from Stanford Healthcare professionals and continues to expand her knowledge in the newest technologies the department offers.

Medical Dosimetrist are responsible for the creation of the radiation treatment plans that will ultimately be delivered to patients with cancer disease.  The Medical Dosimetrist work with a big team of physicians, physicists, therapists, nurses, as well as other administration specialist.  The Medical Dosimetrist will develop an individualized plan that will eradicate the tumor cells while sparing the healthy tissues of the body. The plans are created using a computer where the disease tumors and body organs are viewed in 3D. Using the technology and the Dosimetrist creativity an optimal radiation treatment plan is created.  Maria Vega has been at Stanford Healthcare for 31 years.

Keith McClain, RTT

Radiation Therapist & Director of Radiation Oncology Operations

Department of Radiation Oncology

Keith McClain is the Director of Radiation Therapy Operations at Stanford Health Care and former Radiation Therapist. He completed his AS in Radiography and then BS in Radiographic Technology and Business Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Then, in 2002, he completed his Certificate in Radiation Therapy from Saint Barnabas School of Radiation Therapy. He worked as a radiation therapist for many years, before moving on to the business administration and operations at Stanford Health Care in 2016.

Moises Rivera, BSc

Lab Manager

Department of Radiation Oncology

Moises Rivera started working in the Biotech/Research field in 1990. While working full-time in industry, he attended different local community colleges, SJSU and Foothill College, and later obtained his BS from SJSU.  Moises joined Stanford in 2004 as Lab Manager for a neuroscience lab and has been supporting different School of Medicine departments at Stanford.  Moises joined the RadOnc Department in 2022 and enjoys helping the different labs in the RadOnc department. His entire career has been supporting biology research from Animal Husbandry, doing experiments and assisting with operations in industry and academia.

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