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Dr. Cynthia Keppel


Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute / Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility
40 Enterprise Parkway
Hampton, VA 23666



E-mail address:



St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD B.A., 1984 Liberal Arts
The American University, Washington, DC M.S., 1991 Experimental Nuclear Physics
The American University, Washington, DC Ph.D., 1995 Experimental Nuclear Physics

Professional/business/civic/nonprofit organizations in which you are/have been involved and positions held:

Board of Directors, Hampton Roads Research Partnership (HRRP), current
Advisory Board, Bioscience Forum of Hampton Roads, current
Partner, BioMedical Ventures, current
Jefferson Science Associates Science Council, current
Board of Directors and Treasurer, Pediatric Proton Foundation, current
HRRP BioScience Cluster Steering Committee, current
Founding Member, Society of Directors of Academic Medical Physics Programs (SDAMPP), current
Ion Beam Applications, Inc. Proteus 235 Product Committee, current
Consultant, United Negro College Fund Special Programs, current
Member, American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), current, AAPM MRSC
Certificate for Distinguished Service to Medical Physics (2008)
Member, The Coordinated Theoretical-Experimental Project on QCD (“CTEQ”), invitation-only multi-institutional collaboration, current
Executive Committee, American Physical Society Division of Nuclear Physics (2006-2007)
Board Member, National Institutes of Health National Advisory Research Resources Council (2005-2007)
APS DNP Mentor Award Committee (first year for award), 2008
User Group Board of Directors, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (2005-2006)
Program Committee, American Physical Society Division of Nuclear Physics (2005-2006)
Chair, George B. Pegram Award Committee, Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society (2006)
2002 Vice Chair, American Physical Society Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP)
2000-2001 Chair, American Physical Society CSWP Site Visit Program
2000 Site Visit Coordinator, American Physical Society Committee on Minorities
2001 U.S. Department of Energy Division of Nuclear Physics Office of Science Writing Group
Chair on the Role of the Nuclear Physics Community in Combating Terrorism, Conventional Weapons and Explosives Working Group
Past Committee Member, American Physical Society Centennial Committee
Past Committee Member, American Physical Society Committee on Minorities
Past Committee Member, Physics Jefferson Lab Computing and Library Advisory Committees
Reviewer, Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Breast and Ovarian Cancer
Research and Cancer Concept Award Programs
Reviewer, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grants Program
Reviewer, National Science Foundation (NSF) Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement, Alliance for Minority Participation, and Faculty Early Career Development Programs
Reviewer, Department of Energy and National Institutes of Health Small Business Incentive for Research Programs
Reviewer, NSF, DoD, DOE various unsolicited and ARRA
2005 Consultant, Education Policy Improvement Center

Who were the important mentors you have had and how did they impact your career?

Many years ago Dr. Elaine Oran, a physicist at the Naval Research Center outside of Washington, DC, inspired this liberal arts major to think about becoming a scientist.

In graduate school, Dr. Ray Arnold at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, my advisor, lived an inspiring life example that science is truly quite fun. Also, he founded a visionary program that I think showed me that big things can be created from human ideas.

Dr. Warren Buck, the Director of the Hampton University research center where I first came as a junior faculty member, was a visionary much like Dr. Arnold (above) – models to grow things from ideas, hard work and lots of joy.

Dr. Rolf Ent at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility He is a great scientist, and I have been blessed to have him as my mentor, colleague and friend since we performed experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center many years ago. Dr. Ent was in part responsible for originally bringing me to Hampton Roads (along with Dr. Buck, above).

Last but not least, Dr. William R. Harvey, the Hampton University President, is an incomparable role model – a man of vision, yet practicality, of dreams, yet business.

What do you consider your biggest personal and/or professional accomplishment and why?

Personal: Three wonderful children!

Professional: I have been responsible for the creation of three, related, large university projects – all of which have had positive community impact in healthcare, in economic development, and in education. Most recently, I have been pleased to develop the ~$200M Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (see www.hamptonproton.org) in Hampton, VA (groundbreaking 7/2007, first patient 8/2010). I am by graduate training an experimental nuclear physicist, and in this focus largely on accelerator-based experiments, such as at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, VA.

Drawing on this experience, I began research into medical imaging technology. This led me to establish the Hampton University Center for Advanced Medical Instrumentation (HU CAMI) in 2001. CAMI is a technology transfer driven center focused on intellectual property development and commercialization. Currently, over half of the patents developed at CAMI have been licensed to private industry, many in Virginia. The creation of CAMI has been a key impetus for the launching of the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute and I have worked with President Harvey on all aspects of this center’s development – science, business, architecture, etc., since the beginning.

The above centers have also served to structure the HU graduate education program in medical physics, which I established and co-direct with the Eastern Virginia Medical School. This is the first such program in Virginia and the only one at a historically black college nationally.

What advice would you give to a young person graduating from college this spring?

Do what you like to do, look at the opportunities life has offered you, don’t be afraid.

How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?

Work hard, set aside time for recess, make absolutely sure everyone you love knows well that you love them.

When you were growing up, what did you want to be?

A race car driver

What is your favorite book or movie and why?

Book – Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot: Humanity in innocence, humanity with flaws, the eternal conflict of all our lives – never enough space to ever say enough about this truly beautiful work

Movie – Harvey: Jimmy Stewart and an invisible rabbit, what could be better?

What are two things about you that not many people know?

I work often with youth ministries, and enjoy this age group.
I love old movies.

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