Welcome to IBPRO.

An Integrated Course in the Biology and Physics of Radiation Oncology

Funded by an NIH/NCI R25 grant and developed by a joint team from Wayne State University’s School of Medicine and College of Education, once a year IBPRO brings together radiation biologists, medical physicists, and clinicians for six days of cutting-edge topics, innovative instruction, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Cutting-edge instruction

Participants dive into cutting-edge research and treatment approaches presented by leading experts in biology, physics, and clinical oncology.

Innovative instruction

We emphasize active learning — participants are involved in hands-on, experiential activities and complex problem solving throughout the six days of the course.

Interdisciplinary collaboration

We offer participants the unique opportunity to build the relationships and skills that are vital for successful interdisciplinary collaboration.

IBPRO 2018

April 27-May 2 • Wayne State University • Detroit, MI

Applications for IBPRO 2018 have now closed.
We will be notifying candidates via email in the next few weeks. Thank you!

This year, we will welcome 50 participants – including clinicians, physicists, and biologists – to join us at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI for IBPRO 2018, the final year of the grant! We have included an overview of the topics, activities, faculty, and location below.

Accepted IBPRO participants receive a stipend of $1,000 ($1,200 for participants from groups that are under-represented in the sciences) to help offset the costs of travel, lodging, and food. There are no other costs associated with the course. We encourage applications from those new to the field as well as established professionals and researchers wishing to refresh and advance their interdisciplinary knowledge and skills.

The Wayne State University School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians and designates this live activity for a maximum of 43.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

IBPRO 2018 Daily Themes

Curious about the cutting-edge radiation oncology content our participants will explore this year?
Click the tabs below for a day-by-day overview of our 2018 topics.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6

Particle therapy
A critical update on the current status of proton therapy and the clinical potential of carbon ion therapy.

Some of the important questions and issues we will address:

  1. What are the clinical advantages/consequences of dose distribution characteristics for each type of particle?
  2. How can particle therapy be best utilized therapeutically?
  3. Are carbon ions significantly “better” than protons and worth the additional money?
  4. What energies are needed and how can we economically produce and utilize these beams?
  5. Are scanning beams and IMRT becoming the “standard of care” in particle therapy?
  6. What is the actual RBE for particle therapies? Does RBE change throughout the target volume and how do we incorporate this into the planning?
  7. Can PET imaging be used to visualize the delivered dose distribution?
  8. Could internal emitters releasing high-LET alpha-particles substitute for carbon ions administered externally?
  9. What are the really important radiobiological differences between high-LET and low-LET radiations?
  10. How important are volume effects in particle therapy?
  11. What is the clinical value of partial organ irradiation facilitated by particle therapy?
  12. Risks and complications: what is most important – structural or functional tissue tolerance?
  13. What are the types of malignancy and sites we should be using particles for clinically?
  14. Do we already have an overcapacity of proton therapy in the US?

Expanding the role of radiotherapy
Improving local control and reducing toxicity best combine physics and biology strategies.

Some of the important questions and issues we will address:

  1. Is response variability a limiting factor to achieving a wider therapeutic window and improved outcomes?
  2. Is normalized dose-response gradient actually useful in practice?
  3. Are normal-tissue dose response curves always steeper than for malignancies?
  4. What is the radiation dose-equivalent of adding chemotherapy?
  5. Is Equivalent Uniform Dose actually useful, or are there better derived metrics?
  6. Strategies for modification of normal-tissue responses based on the underlying pathobiology: How does that work?
  7. What the biological risks versus gains from minimizing the target volume in different tumors/sites?
  8. What possible interventions might we have in the processing of radiation damage?
  9. Do we have to develop tumor-specific agents?
  10. What modifying agents have been clinically tested?
  11. What modifying agents are in the pipeline?
  12. What trials of modifying agents are currently active?
  13. What is the overall outlook for further biologically-based strategies for improving therapeutic ratio?
  14. What is the value potential of using “big data”?

Target definition, treatment precision, and adaptive therapy
More rapid and precise imaging/treatment of the target volume and imaging the response to therapy are increasingly possible.

Some of the important questions and issues we will address:

  1. Can we find fundamentally different and advantageous ways to deliver RT or are we stuck with mere incremental improvements in treatment plan quality resulting from improvements in technology?
  2. How much “room for error” do we need to leave in treatment planning?
  3. How much does motion management actually affect clinical outcome?
  4. Does better precision of treatment delivery always give a better outcome?
  5. Should increased precision in treatment delivery be used only with patients with a favorable prognostic profile?
  6. When will it be practical and clinically advantageous to create adaptive treatment plans while patients are on the treatment couch?
  7. Does adaptive therapy enable an increase in target volume without increased toxicity?
  8. Is fractionation still important in adaptive therapy?
  9. Can functional imaging provide a biophysical model for cancer treatment?
  10. How does therapy “reprogram” the microenvironment?
  11. How do we extract useful biological information from imaging?
  12. How do improved image guidance using CT, PET and MRI make for improved geometrical sparing of normal tissues?
  13. What can we best image in the tumor microenvironment that really matters?
  14. Why has hypoxia not had a bigger impact clinically?
  15. Is it that acute hypoxia is important and chronic hypoxia is irrelevant?
  16. Is it that concurrent cisplatinum effectively “takes care” of the gain from using hypoxic sensitizers?
  17. Does perfusion matter in other ways than controlling oxygenation?
  18. Is dose painting for everyone?
  19. Is individualized therapy really feasible and would it actually improve outcomes?
  20. Is Head & Neck cancer a paradigm for improved precision in radiotherapy?

Increasing use of radiation doses per fraction >2.2 Gy and much higher: Where, how, when, and latest outcomes.

Some of the important questions and issues we will address:

  1. Can animal models help us broadly understand the response to hypofractionation or must we focus only on clinical response data?
  2. What are the human data-driven approaches to modeling responses to hypofractionation and SBRT?
  3. Can modeling the human data be precise enough to guide decisions on treating individual patients?
  4. Should we use BED or EQD2 as the common currency for expressing “biological dose equivalent”?
  5. From the clinical data alone, can we say that “LQ cannot predict response to high doses per fraction”?
  6. Must we invoke “new radiobiology” to understand response to high doses per fraction?
  7. Is indirect cell death involved in the response to hypofractionation and SBRT?
  8. Why are vascular-mediated effects more apparent at high doses per fraction than at 2 Gy per fraction?
  9. Do hypofractionation and SBRT come automatically with a benefit of reduced overall treatment time?
  10. Does the increasing use of large doses per fraction put hypoxia “back on the map”?
  11. Why are we using clinical hypofractionation and SBRT effectively in 2015 and not in 1995?
  12. In which sites is clinical application of hypofractionation/SBRT currently most successful?
  13. Can we agree yet on an optimum number of fractions and total dose for each site?
  14. Is chemotherapy less relevant within the context of SBRT?

How do inflammatory and immune responses to radiation damage influence outcome in different tumors, normal tissues and disseminated disease.

Some of the important questions and issues we will address:

  1. What are the inflammatory responses induced by radiotherapy?
  2. How do proimmunogenic and immunosuppressive effects of radiotherapy balance in different tumor types and sites/organs?
  3. To what extent can radiation induce immune-mediated cell death compared with frank mitotic death?
  4. Can immune-suppressive mediators yet be manipulated to therapeutic advantage?
  5. Can immune-derived abscopal effects contribute significantly to patient cure?
  6. Are immune responses more apparent with systemic (isotope) rather than local radiotherapy?
  7. Does systemic chemotherapy also induce immunogenic cell death?
  8. Where, if at all, does HPV fit into immune response?
  9. How can treatment planning systems account for immune-modulated responses?
  10. What is the dependence of immune-modulated responses on radiation dose or dose per fraction?
  11. Are immune responses a significant cause of responses not conforming to a linear-quadratic relationship with higher radiation dose?
  12. Can immune responses to primary local tumor irradiation lead to reduction in metastases and would this be more likely following higher dose-per fraction treatment of the primary, e.g. SBRT?
  13. What clinical trials are currently underway to test efficacy of combining radiotherapy with immunotherapy?
  14. Can/will the immune system really play a decisive role in radiation oncology?

Wrapping up
Reviewing what we have discovered during the past week, summarizing the clinical trial development activity, and a final closing discussion with faculty: “What is tomorrow?”

IBPRO 2018 Activities

Along with keynote lectures from renowned scholars and clinicians, a unique and compelling feature of IBPRO is the innovative activities we include throughout each day of the course, including:

Virtual Hospital

Small participant groups that include a mix of clinicians, physicists, and biologists meet together for a half hour to build community by collaboratively exploring a case relevant to the day’s theme from the perspective of each discipline. Within the Virtual Hospital’s online environment, groups click on specialists’ offices to view images and information, imaging rooms to read relevant case background documents, and additional specialty rooms with critical case content. A large group debrief led by a clinician, a biologist, and a physicist to allow participants a chance to share points from their group’s discussion and hear other perspectives on the role of each discipline in the case. Virtual Hospital has been a very popular activity with previous cohorts, particularly because of the opportunity for active participation in interdisciplinary case discussions.

Structured Debate

Each day an intensive one-hour discussion involving all participants and faculty together, coordinated by a debate on a very hot issue within that day’s theme. We expect everyone to have a point of view, preferably strong, which will certainly be the case for the IBPRO faculty who will comprise the supervisory panel which tries to keep everything polite and civilized!

Breakout Sessions

Every IBPRO participant will take part in three breakout sessions (one per day during the first three afternoons of the course): Proton Treatment Planning; Scientific Communication; and Strategies for Interdisciplinary Team Science. These breakout sessions will provide hands-on experience in the skills necessary for success in interdisciplinary treatment and research beyond IBPRO.

Protocol Development

Throughout the week, participant groups, under guidance from IBPRO faculty, will put together the outline and essential components of a proposed clinical trial to address (perhaps) some of the Questions and Issues within one of the themes. This is the typically the last activity each day, so participants (and faculty…) often take the opportunity to continue over a beer back at the hotel!

Networking Activities

IBPRO features several networking activities — some structured, some informal — that will allow participants the chance to meet colleagues, get to know each other better, and build relationships for future collaboration.

IBPRO 2018 Faculty

IBPRO 2018’s faculty includes international experts in radiation biology, medical physics, and clinical radiation oncology. In addition to daily keynote lectures relevant to the day’s theme, participants have the opportunity to interact with our faculty during Q&A sections, panel discussions, and activities such as the debates and protocol development activity.

Michael C. Joiner, PhD

Michael C. Joiner, PhD
IBPRO Co-Principal Investigator
Wayne State University

Monica W. Tracey, PhD

Monica W. Tracey, PhD
IBPRO Co-Principal Investigator
Wayne State University

Jay Burmeister, PhD

Jay Burmeister, PhD
IBPRO Co-Investigator
Wayne State University

Sara Kacin, PhD

Sara E. Kacin, PhD
IBPRO Co-Investigator
Wayne State University

Soren Møller Bentzen, Ph.D.

Søren M. Bentzen, PhD
IBPRO Faculty
University of Maryland

Indrin Chetty

Indrin Chetty, PhD
IBPRO Faculty
Wayne State University

Joseph O. Deasy, Ph.D.

Joseph O. Deasy, PhD
IBPRO Faculty
Memorial Sloan Kettering

Michael Dominello

Michael Dominello, DO
IBPRO Faculty
Wayne State University

Silvia Formenti

Silvia Formenti, MD
IBPRO Faculty
New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center


Sameer R. Keole, MD
IBPRO Faculty
University of Arizona

Marianne Koritzinsky, PhD
IBPRO Faculty
University of Toronto

Bill McBride

Bill McBride, PhD, DSc
IBPRO Faculty
University of California-Los Angeles


Benjamin Movsas, MD
IBPRO Faculty
Wayne State University


Farzan Siddiqui, MD, PhD
IBPRO Faculty
Wayne State University


Michael G. Snyder, PhD
IBPRO Faculty
Wayne State University

van der Kogel

Albert J. van der Kogel, PhD
IBPRO Faculty
University of Wisconsin


Bradly G. Wouters, PhD
IBPRO Faculty
University of Toronto

Contact IBPRO

Questions about course topics or applying to IBPRO?

Contact Dr. Mike Joiner

Questions about lodging or other logistics issues?

Contact Saundra Sumner

Questions about our instructional approach?

Contact Dr. Monica Tracey