Wheaton College Professor Wins Grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health

January 24, 2019

253x380 Heather Whitney Dr. Heather M. Whitney, Associate Professor of Physics at Wheaton College, was awarded an R15 AREA (Academic Research Enhancement Award) grant by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The three-year, $396,673 grant will fund research efforts by Dr. Whitney, four undergraduate students from Wheaton College, and faculty collaborators at Wheaton College and the University of Chicago.

The title of the project is “Assessment of Repeatability and Robustness of Radiomics in Breast Cancer Imaging.” Dr. Whitney is collaborating with University of Chicago faculty Dr. Maryellen Giger, the A.N. Pritzker Professor of Radiology and Vice-Chair for Basic Science Research in the Department of Radiology, Dr. Karen Drukker, Research Associate Professor of Radiology, and Dr. Hiroyuki Abe, Professor of Radiology and Director of Breast Imaging Research, as well as Wheaton College faculty member Dr. Darcie Delzell, Associate Professor of Mathematics. 

“I am so pleased to have received this NIH grant,” says Dr. Whitney. “It is a privilege to work with Dr. Giger, a prominent medical physicist and pioneer in quantitative medical imaging methods, and her esteemed colleagues at the University of Chicago. Our collaboration will give Wheaton College students the opportunity to extend their solid liberal arts education into experiential learning through research.”

Dr. Whitney graduated from King College in Bristol, TN with a Bachelor of Science in physics and performing & visual arts. She earned a Master of Science in Physics from Vanderbilt University, a Master of Science in Medical Physics from the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University, and a Ph.D. in Physics from Vanderbilt University.  She joined the faculty at Wheaton in 2010.

She is a member of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, the American Association of Physics Teachers, where she serves on the Committee for Women in Physics, the American Physical Society, the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) and Sigma Pi Sigma Honor Society. She has also published articles in several peer-reviewed journals, including Academic Radiology, the Journal of Applied Physiology, and the Christian Scholars Review.

“Professor Heather Whitney is a gifted researcher and teacher, but she also excels in persistence and determination,” says Wheaton College Provost Margaret Diddams. “This NIH grant is a major affirmation of all of these giftings, and Wheaton College is thrilled that this grant will enable her to continue doing this important work. We’re also excited that undergraduate researchers will have the opportunity to work alongside her on this federally funded project.”