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Rebecca M. Howell

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Physics, Division of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Office Address

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd.
Houston, TX 77030
Room Number: ACBP1.2970, Unit 1202
Phone: (713) 563-2493

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

2005 University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX, PHD, Medical Physics
2001 University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX, MS, Medical Physics
1997 University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, BS, Chemistry

Board Certifications

2005 American Board of Radiology - Therapeutic Radiologic Physics

Experience/Service

Academic Appointments

Faculty (Full), The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston, Houston, TX, 2007-present

Institutional Committee Activities

Recruitment Facilitator, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston Medical Physics Program Steering Committee, 2014-present
Member, Survivorship Research Advisory Committee, 11/2012-present
Member, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Advisory Board for the Department of Scientific Publications, 4/2012-present
Member, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston Medical Physics Program Steering Committee, 2011-present

Honors and Awards

2013 Finalist, Innovation in Medical Physics, Education Symposium, American Association of Physicists in Medicine 2013 Annual Meeting, Indianapolis, IN
2011 Editor's Choice, Article in Physics in Medicine & Biology: The clinical impact of the couch top and rails on IMRT and arc therapy, Phys Med Biol 56:7435-7447
2010 Editor's Choice, Article in Physics in Medicine & Biology: Risk of second malignant neoplasm following proton versus intensity modulated photon radiotherapy for hepatocellular carcinoma, Phys Med Biol 55:7055-7065
2010 Scholarship Recipient, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Early Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar
2010 Top 20% of articles downloaded in 2010 from Physics in Medicine & Biology: Accuracy of out-of-field dose calculations by a commercial treatment planning system, Phys Med Biol 55:6999-7008
2009 Featured article in Physics in Medicine & Biology Highlights of 2009 collection: Treatment vault shielding for a flattening filter-free medical linear accelerator, Phys Med Biol 54(5):1265-73
2008 Best Paper Award, Medical Applications Session, 11th International Conference on Radiation Shielding
2007 Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, Oakridge Associated University
2006-2007 Educator of the Year Award, Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology, Emory University
2005-2006 Educator of the Year Award, Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology, Emory University
2004-2005 Educator of the Year Award, Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology, Emory University
2004 Travel Scholarship, 10th International Conference on Radiation Shielding, Madeira, Portugal
2003 Travel Scholarship, American Association of Physicists in Medicine Summer School

Professional Memberships

American Association for Radiation Oncology
Physics Core Curriculum Subcommittee, 2013-present
American Association of Physicists in Medicine
Internal Reviewer, Medical Physics Practice Guideline - Commissioning and QA of External Beam Treatment Planning System Dose Calculations, 2013
Abstract Reviewer, Annual Meeting, 2012-2014
Independent Reviewer, Task Group 136 - Potential hazard due to radioactivity secondary to radiotherapy, 2012
Member, Task Group 158 - Measurements and calculations of doses outside the treatment volume from external beam radiation therapy, 2011-present
Member, Subcommittee on Medical Physicists as Educators, 2009-present
Member, Task Group 191 - Recommendations on the clinical use of luminescent dosimeters, 2009-present
Member, Southwest Chapter, 2008-present
Member, Medical Physics Residency Training and Promotion Subcommittee, 2007-2008
Member, 2001-present
Student Member, Southwest Chapter, 1998-2001
American Board of Radiology
Oral Board Examiner, 5/2013
Exam Committee Member, Radiation Oncology Physics, 2013-present
Question Writer, Radiation Oncology Physics, 2012-present
American Nuclear Society
Technical Program Committee, 12th International Conference on Radiation Shielding and the 17th Topical Meeting of Radiation Protection and Shielding Division of the American Nuclear Society, 2012
Publications Chair, 11th International Conference on Radiation Shielding at the Topical Meeting, Radiation, Protection and Shielding Division, 2008
Technical Program Committee, 11th International Conference on Radiation Shielding at the Topical Meeting, Radiation, Protection and Shielding Division, 2008
Elected Member, Accelerator Applications Division Executive Committee, 2007-2012
Member, 2003-present
Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs
Member, Graduate Education Program Review Committee, 2006-present

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Koshy K, Landry JC, Lawson JD, Staley A. Esiashivili N, Howell RM, Ghavidel S, Davis LW. Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for retroperitoneal sarcoma-a case for dose escalation and organ at risk (OAR) toxicity reduction. Sarcoma 7(3):137-48, 2003.
2. Koshy M, Paulino AC, Howell RM, Schuster D, Davis LW. Comparison of CT and FDG-pet-defined gross tumor volume in intensity-modulated radiotherapy for head-and-neck cancer. Int J Radiat Oncl Biol Phys 61(5):1385-92, 2005.
3. Howell RM, Ferenci MS, Hertel NE, Fullerton GD. Investigation of secondary neutron dose for 18 MV dynamic MLC IMRT delivery. Med Phys 32(3):786-93, 2005. PMID: 15839351.
4. Howell RM, Ferenci MS, Hertel NE, Fullerton GD, Fox T, Davis LW. Measurements of secondary neutron dose from 15 MV and 18 MV IMRT. Radiat Prot Dosimetry 115(1-4):508-12, 2005. PMID: 16381776.
5. Howell RM, Hertel NE, Wang Z, Hutchinson J, Fullerton GD. Calculation of effective dose from measurements of secondary neutron spectra and scattered photon dose from dynamic MLC IMRT for 6 MV, 15 MV, and 18 MV beam energies. Med Phys 33(2):360-8, 2006. PMID: 16532941.
6. Howell RM, Hertel NE, Wang Z, Hutchinson J. RBE or effective dose to evaluate the effect of different beam energies for intensity modulated radiation therapy. Nucl Instrum Meth 562:1024-28, 2006.
7. Kry SF, Howell RM, Titt U, Salehpour M, Mohan R, Vassiliev ON. Energy spectra, sources, and shielding considerations for neutrons generated by a flattening filter-free clinac. Med Phys 35(5):1906-11, 2008. PMID: 18561666.
8. Howell RM, Smith IP, Jarrio C. Establishing action levels for EPID-based QA for IMRT. J Appl Clin Med Phys 9(3):16-25, 2008. PMID: 18716584.
9. Wang Z, Hutchinson JD, Hertel NE, Burgett E, Howell RM. Study of a gold-foil based multi-sphere neutron spectrometer. Radiat Prot Dosimetry 128:289-293, 2008.
10. Wang Z, Howell RM, Kry SF, Burgett EA, Hertel NE, Salehpour M. Characterization of a gold-and-indium dual-activation-foil-based Bonner sphere system. Nucl Technol 168(3):603-609, 2009.
11. Wang Z, Kry SF, Howell RM, Salehpour M. Comparison of unfolding methods for the determination of neutron spectrum and ambient dose equivalent. Nucl Technol 168(3):610-614, 2009.
12. Howell RM, Kry SF, Burgett E, Followill D, Hertel NE. Effects of tertiary MLC configuration on secondary neutron spectra from 18-MV x-ray beams for the Varian 21EX linear accelerator. Med Phys 36(9):4039-4046, 2009. PMCID: PMC2738743.
13. Burgett EA, Hertel NE, Howell RM. Energy response and angular dependence of a Bonner sphere. IEEE TNS, 2009.
14. Howell RM, Burgett EA, Hertell NE, Kry SF, Wang Z and Salehpour M. Measurement of high-energy neutron spectra with a Bonner sphere extenstion. Nucl Technol 168(2):333-339, 2009.
15. Kry SF, Howell RM, Salehpour M, Followill DS. Neutron spectra and dose equivalents calculated in tissue for high-energy radiation therapy. Med Phys 36(4):1244-50, 2009. PMCID: PMC2736753.
16. Howell RM, Kry SF, Burgett E, Hertel NE, Followill DS. Secondary neutron spectra from modern Varian, Siemens, and Elekta linacs with multileaf collimators. Med Phys 36(9):4027-38, 2009. PMCID: PMC2738742.
17. Kry SF, Howell RM, Polf J, Mohan R, Vassiliev ON. Treatment vault shielding for a flattening filter-free medical linear accelerator. Phys Med Biol 54(5):1265-73, 2009. PMID: 19190359.
18. Scarboro SA, Hertel NE, Burgett EA, Howell RM. Use of a thyroid probe for assaying internal contamination following a radioactive dispersal device (RDD). Nucl Technol 168(1):169-172, 2009.
19. Howell RM, Scarboro SB, Kry SF, Yaldo DZ. Accuracy of out-of-field dose calculations by a commercial treatment planning system. Phys Med Biol 55(23):6999-7008, 2010. PMID: 21076191.
20. Howell RM, Burgett EA, Wiegel B, Hertel NE. Calibration of a Bonner sphere extension (BSE) for high-energy neutron spectrometry. Rad Meas 45:1233-1237, 2010.
21. Wang Z, Howell RM, Burgett EA, Kry SF, Hertel NE, Salehpour M. Calibration of indium response functions in an Au-In-BSE system up to 800MeV. Radiat Prot Dosimetry 139(4):doi:10.1093/rpd/ncp282, 2010. PMCID: PMC2909792.
22. Scarboro SB, Stovall M, White A, Smith SA, Yaldo D, Kry SF, Howell RM. Effect of organ size and position on out-of-field dose distributions during radiation therapy. Phys Med Biol 55(23):7025-36, 2010. PMID: 21076195.
23. Howell RM, Scarboro SB, Taddei PJ, Krishnan S, Kry SF, Newhauser WD. Methodology for determining doses to in-field, out-of-field and partially in-field organs for late effects studies in photon radiotherapy. Phys Med Biol 55(23):7009-23, 2010. PMCID: PMC3001332.
24. Taddei PJ, Howell RM, Krishnan S, Scarboro SB, Mirkovic D, Newhauser WD. Risk of second malignant neoplasm following proton versus intensity-modulated photon radiotherapies for hepatocellular carcinoma. Phys Med Biol 55(23):7055-65, 2010. PMCID: PMC3001302.
25. Kry SF, Johnson JL, White RA, Howell RM, Kudchadker RJ, Gillin MT. Neutron-induced electronic failures around a high-energy linear accelerator. Med Phys 38(1):34-9, 2011. PMID: 21361172.
26. Pulliam KB, Howell RM, Followill D, Luo D, White RA, Kry SF. The clinical impact of the couch top and rails on IMRT and arc therapy. Phys Med Biol 56(23):7435-47, 2011. PMID: 22056949.
27. Scarboro SB, Followill DS, Howell RM, Kry SF. Variations in photon energy spectra of a 6 MV beam and their impact on TLD response. Med Phys 38(5):2619-2628, 2011. PMCID: PMC3107829.
28. Howell RM, Giebeler A, Koontz-Raisig W, Mahajan A, Etzel CJ, D'Amelio AM, Homann KL, Newhauser WD. Comparison of therapeutic dosimetric data from passively scattered proton and photon craniospinal irradiations for medulloblastoma. Radiat Oncol 7:116, 2012. e-Pub 7/24/2012. PMCID: PMC3430590.
29. Rechner LA, Howell RM, Zhang R, Etzel C, Lee AK, Newhauser WD. Risk of radiogenic second cancers following volumetric modulated arc therapy and proton arc therapy for prostate cancer. Phys Med Biol 57(21):7117-32, 11/2012. e-Pub 10/2012. PMID: 23051714.
30. Rechner LA, Howell RM, Zhang R, Newhauser WD. Impact of margin size on the predicted risk of radiogenic second cancers following proton arc therapy and volumetric modulated arc therapy for prostate cancer. Phys Med Biol 57(23):N469-79, 12/2012. e-Pub 11/2012. PMID: 23154795.
31. Han T, Mourtada F, Kisling K, Mikell J, Followill D, Howell R. Experimental validation of deterministic Acuros XB algorithm for IMRT and VMAT dose calculations with the Radiological Physics Center's head and neck phantom. Med Phys 39(4):2193-202, 2012. PMID: 22482641.
32. Zhang R, Howell RM, Giebeler A, Taddei PJ, Mahajan A, Newhauser WD. Comparison of risk of radiogenic second cancer following photon and proton craniospinal irradiation for a pediatric medulloblastoma patient. Phys Med Biol 58(4). e-Pub 1/2013. PMID: 23322160.
33. Giebeler A, Newhauser WD, Amos RA, Mahajan A, Homann K, Howell RM. Standardized treatment planning methodology for passively scattered proton craniospinal irradiation. Radiat Oncol 8:32, 2013. e-Pub 2/3/2013. PMCID: PMC3606426.
34. Han T, Followill D, Mikell J, Repchak R, Molineu A, Howell R, Salehpour M, Mourtada F. Dosimetric impact of Acuros XB deterministic radiation transport algorithm for heterogeneous dose calculation in lung cancer. Med Phys 40(5):051710, 5/2013. PMID: 23635258.
35. Pérez-Andújar A, Newhauser WD, Taddei PJ, Mahajan A, Howell RM. The predicted relative risk of premature ovarian failure for three radiotherapy modalities in a girl receiving craniospinal irradiation. Phys Med Biol 58(10):3107-23, 5/21/2013. e-Pub 4/19/2013. PMID: 23603657.
36. Wang X, Zhang X, Li X, Amos RA, Shaitelman SF, Hoffman K, Howell R, Salehpour M, Zhang SX, Sun TL, Smith B, Tereffe W, Perkins GH, Buchholz TA, Strom EA, Woodward WA. Accelerated partial-breast irradiation using intensity-modulated proton radiotherapy: Do uncertainties outweigh potential benefits? Br J Radiol 86(1029):20130176, 9/2013. e-Pub 5/31/2013. PMCID: PMC3755395.
37. Lamart S, Stovall M, Simon SL, Smith SA, Weathers RE, Howell RM, Curtis RE, Aleman BM, Travis L, Kwon D, Morton LM. Radiation dose to the esophagus from breast cancer radiation therapy, 1943-1996: an international population-based study of 414 patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 86(4):694-701, 7/15/2013. e-Pub 4/26/2013. PMID: 23628135.
38. Zhang R, Howell R, Homann K, Giebeler A, Taddei P, Mahajan A, Newhauser W. Predicted risks of radiogenic cardiac toxicity in two pediatric patients undergoing photon or proton radiotherapy. Radiat Oncol 8(1):184, 7/2013.
39. Huang JY, Klund DE, Childress NL, Howell RM, Mirkovic D, Followill DS, Kry SF. Investigation of various energy deposition kernel refinements for the convolution/superposition method. Med Phys 40, 121721, http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4831758, 2013.
40. Casey KE, Alvarez PE, Kry SF, Howell RM, Lawyer AA, Followill DS. Development and implementation of a remote audit tool for high dose rate (HDR) Ir-192 brachytherapy using optically stimulated luminescence dosimetry. Med Phys 40, 112102, http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4824915, 2013.
41. Taddei PJ, Jalbout W, Howell RM, Khater N, Geara F, Homann K, Newhauser WD. Analytical model for out-of-field dose in photon craniospinal irradiation. Phys Med Biol 58(21):7463-79, 11/7/2013. e-Pub 10/8/2013. PMID: 24099782.
42. Pulliam KB, Huang JY, Howell RM, Followill D, Bosca R, O'Daniel J, Kry SF. Comparison of 2D and 3D gamma analyses. Med Phys 41(2):021710, 2/2014. PMCID: PMC3977814.
43. Howell RM, Burgett EA. Secondary neutron spectrum from 250-MeV passively scattered proton therapy: measurement with an extended-range Bonner sphere system. Med Phys. In Press.

Invited Articles

1. Howell RM. Book review: National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) Report No. 170, Second primary cancers and cardiovascular disease after radiation therapy. Med Phys 39(12):7729-7731, 12/2012.

Grant & Contract Support

Title: Investigation of late effects for contemporary proton and photon radiation therapy, 01/2012 – 08/2013, $37,000. Parent Grant: Northern Illinois Proton Treatment and Research Center
Funding Source: Department of Defense (DOD)
Role: Principal Investigator on subcontract
Principal Investigator: John Lewis
Duration: 1/2012 - 8/2013
 
Title: Childhood Survivor Cancer Study Subcontract, 111287180-7466326, PI – Marilyn Stovall, 12/2011-11/2016, $1,761,702, Parent Grant: Childhood Cancer Survivor Study
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Role: Co-Investigator on subcontract
Principal Investigator: Les Robinson
Duration: 12/2011 - 11/2016
 
Title: Dose calculation tools for epidemiology studies following modern radiotherapy
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Role: Co-Investigator
Principal Investigator: Stephen Kry
Duration: 4/2011 - 3/2013
 
Title: Assessment of therapeutic and stray dose for radiation-related late effects risk analysis, 11/2012 – 07/2013, $111,000. Parent Grant: Prediction of second cancer risks for children treated with proton versus photon therapy
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Role: Principal Investigator on subcontract
Principal Investigator: Wayne Newhauser
Duration: 9/2008 - 7/2013
 
Title: Improving effectiveness and accuracy of radiation therapy
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 5/2008 - 1/2011
 
Title: Measurement with Bonner sphere extension for high energy neutron spectroscopy (beam-time: 11 days, 24hr per day)
Funding Source: Los Alamos Neutron Science Center
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 7/2007
 
Title: Bonner sphere extension for high energy neutron spectroscopy
Funding Source: Oak Ridge Associated Universities Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Award
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 6/2007 - 8/2007
 
Title: Simulation and testing of nuclear medicine hospital thyroid probes for assessing internal contamination following a radioactive dispersal device, 4/1/2007-7/31/2007, $34,000
Funding Source: Parent Grant: Simulation and testing of various radiation survey meters as monitors of internal contamination levels, Contract No. 300616601-07, TKC Integration Services Prime (issued under Contract No. 200-2006-15969 to CDC Radiation Studies Branch)
Role: Principle Investigator on subcontract
Principal Investigator: Nolan E. Hertel
Duration: 9/2006 - 5/2008
 
Title: Effect of multileaf collimators on secondary neutron spectra from high energy medical accelerators
Funding Source: Emory Fund for Innovative Cancer Technologies
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 4/2005 - 3/2006
 
Title: Investigation of optimal x-ray energy for IMRT for prostate cancer
Funding Source: Georgia Cancer Coalition
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 7/2004 - 6/2005

Last updated: 7/29/2014