Robert J. Gillies, PhD, a pioneer in radiomics whose discoveries spanned multiple disciplines of cancer research, died June 7, 2022, at the age of 69.
Gillies was born Feb. 27, 1953. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California, Irvine, in 1974; a PhD in zoology from the University of California, Davis, in 1979, and conducted postdoctoral work in molecular biophysics at Yale University in 1980.
In 2008, Gillies joined the faculty at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. Most recently, he was the Martin Silbiger Chair of the Department of Cancer Physiology and vice chair for research in the Department of Diagnostic Imaging and Interventional Radiology.
Gillies was known for conducting research that spanned molecular, cellular, and animal studies, as well as clinical trials and image analytics. His work helped establish that the pathophysiological microenvironment of early cancers is extremely hostile, exerting powerful evolutionary selection for the outgrowth of malignant clones and contributing to genomic plasticity and the heterogeneity of solid tumors. This understanding helped advance the field of cancer evolution.
Gillies also conducted pioneering work in the field of imaging, becoming known as the “Father of Radiomics.” His studies, particularly those on the use of imaging in lung cancer, helped establish the role of radiomics in oncology.
Gillies published more than 400 peer-reviewed articles over the course of his career, and was a treasured mentor for nearly 80 students, postdoctoral fellows, and other Moffitt faculty members.
Gillies joined the AACR in 2010. He was a steering committee member of the AACR’s Cancer Evolution Working Group, an editorial board member of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, and a member of several committees. He was an invited speaker for multiple AACR Annual Meetings and Special Conferences.
Among many career awards, Gillies was named Moffitt’s Researcher of the Year in 2012 and Research Mentor of the Year in 2016. He received a Gold Medal from the World Molecular Imaging Society in 2018 and the Academy of Molecular Imaging’s Distinguished Basic Scientist Award in 2019.
Leave your remembrance of Dr. Gillies below.
I have collaborated with Robert in the pass and I was impressed by his knowledge and kindness. Also his contribution to the field of cancer pointing the crucial role of pH, although not yet understood by many people in the field, is an important contribution to the understanding of cancer and its therapy.
This is a huge shock and loss for the community. Bob was an excellent mentor and fantastic human being; He was what one would call a "gentle giant", someone who was an extraordinary expert in his field and so extremely down-to-earth, kind and supportive (he always had a kind word to share with everyone). He made contributions to several areas, ranging from radiomics, tumor-ecology and nutrition and so many other important topics. His "Clearwater meetings" were truly events to look forward to every year. His generosity was exemplary. His legacy lives on, in the form of the careers of several individuals fortunate to have been mentored by him. He will be truly missed. Our thoughts and prayers with his family and loved ones.