Contact: NIU Office of Public Affairs
December 6, 2004
Aidnag Z. Diaz, medical director
Dr. Aidnag “A.Z.” Diaz started his career as a nuclear engineer, spending a year as a designer of nuclear reactors. So it was perhaps no surprise that, after entering medical school, he developed a special interest in radiation oncology. Diaz earned his medical degree in 1988 from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. He completed residency training in internal medicine at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York and in radiation oncology at the University of California at San Francisco. Prior to his appointment at the Northern Illinois University Institute for Neutron Therapy, Dr. Diaz served as co-director of the Gamma-Knife Center and director of neuroradio-oncology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, where he also was an associate professor in the Department of Radiation Medicine. He also has worked at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle and in the medical department of Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. Diaz’s research interests include heavy particle radiotherapy, such as fast neutron therapy and boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT). He has authored or co-authored more than 30 journal publications, abstracts and book chapters and serves as a reviewer for the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.
Arlene Lennox, technical director
Medical physicist Arlene Lennox, considered one of the world’s leading experts in neutron therapy, has been at the heart of the neutron therapy effort at Fermilab for two decades. She was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in elementary particle physics from the University of Notre Dame (at a timewhen it was a predominantly all-male school). She participated in the first approved collider experiment at Fermilab and combined research efforts with part-time teaching at the college level. In 1985, she became department head at the Fermilab Neutron Therapy Facility. Since then, Lennox has been involved in both the clinical and medical physics aspects of neutron therapy.
She worked on the accelerator now used for proton therapy at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California and is familiar with most aspects of particle therapy for treating cancer. In 2004, Lennox was named a fellow of the prestigious American Physical Society in recognition of her contributions to neutron therapy. She also is a frequent invited speaker at national and international conferences on medical physics. Additionally, Lennox is an adjunct professor in the Northern Illinois University Graduate School and for many years has played violin in the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra.