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M. D. Anderson Biomathematician Receives Business and Professional Women of Texas Award

M. D. Anderson Biomathematician Receives Business and Professional Women of Texas Award
M. D. Anderson News Release 06/03/02

It was in junior high that Susan L. Tucker, Ph.D., first became interested in mathematics and recognized that a thorough understanding of the world required a knowledge of the complex field.

She followed that interest to a career in biomathematics, the discipline of developing and applying quantitative methods to biomedical research, and today she is a professor at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and recipient of the 2002 Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs (BPW/Texas) Award.

Dr. Tucker received the award in recognition of her diverse contributions to cancer research through biomathematics as a nationally and internationally distinguished researcher.

"Today, I feel privileged to use my interest in mathematics to increase our understanding of the ways that biologic and treatment factors influence the response of normal tissue and tumors to cancer therapy," Dr. Tucker said.

Since joining M. D. Anderson in 1980, Dr. Tucker's research has focused on the use of mathematical techniques to study the effects of radiation therapy on tumors and normal tissues. She has been at the forefront of efforts to determine the potential benefit of predictive assays of patient response to treatment.

She also led the team that improved the standard mathematical model used for tumor-cure probability. In addition to this research, Dr. Tucker has been a major collaborator in clinical and basic research into the diagnosis and treatment of tumors of the colon, breast, lung and head and neck cancers.

"Dr. Tucker's expertise is widely recognized from mathematical models of population dynamics and tumor-cure probability to prediction of individual patients' responses to cancer therapies," said Dr. Margaret R. Spitz, professor and chair of epidemiology at M. D. Anderson and the 1998 BPW/Texas award recipient.  "Her contributions to mathematical modeling of treatment outcomes have become standard analytical tools."

Dr. Tucker received a bachelor's degree in mathematics at Smith College in Massachusetts, and master and doctorate degrees in mathematics at the University of Michigan.

Since 1980 BPW/Texas annually has recognized the outstanding work of a woman faculty member at M. D. Anderson by presenting her with the BPW/Texas Award.  Many of the awardees have successfully invested the gifts as seed funding, which enabled them to, in turn, secure significant federal funding for their research.

BPW/Texas has presented more than $1 million to cancer research initiatives and patient programs at M. D. Anderson since 1975.

The group's generosity and volunteer commitment have supported nursing career development and recruitment, breast cancer research and education, the volunteer-operated beauty and barber shop for patients, and research in brain cancer in children, bladder cancer in women and quality of life among ovarian cancer patients.


© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center