Thomas “Rock” Mackie, an emeritus professor of medical physics, engineering physics and biomedical engineering, received the Gold Medal Award for his contributions to cancer treatment from the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), the world’s premier radiation oncology society.

Photo of Thomas “Rock” Mackie
Thomas “Rock” Mackie

The Gold Medal is ASTRO’s highest honor bestowed on revered members who have made outstanding contributions to the field of radiation oncology.

Mackie has contributed many important inventions to radiation therapy. He is probably best known for his development of tomotherapy, which directs a continuous helical delivery pattern of radiation that can be programmed to any shape, thus limiting the dose to healthy tissue. He founded companies, TomoTherapy (now owned by Accuray) and Geometrics, and currently serves as UW Health’s chief innovation officer, and head of Isthmus Project, the health system’s new innovation accelerator.

Mackie received the 2019 ASTRO Gold Medal from UW-Madison faculty member Dr. Paul Harari, who serves as chairman of the ASTRO board of directors, at the society’s annual meeting in September 2019.

“Rock Mackie is a brilliant thinker and inventor,” says Harari. “His innovations in radiation oncology have had an enormous impact on the precision of cancer treatment worldwide. We are very fortunate to have had this highly creative scientist working at the University of Wisconsin over the last 30 years.”

ASTRO has more than 10,500 members who are physicians, nurses, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals who use radiation therapies to treat patients with cancer.

Mackie also recently received the John Mallard Award from the International Organization for Medical Physics and will be honored with the Hector F. DeLuca Scientific Achievement Award on Oct. 2, 2019, at the Wisconsin Biohealth Summit presented by BioFoward.

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