Paul G. Okunieff

Paul Okunieff, MD

Paul Okunieff, MD, chair of the UF Department of Radiation Oncology, is an internationally respected radiation oncologist and radiation biologist at the University of Florida Health Cancer Center (UFHCC) as well as a founder and a current medical advisor for DiaCarta, Inc., and the chair of the SWOG Radiation Oncology Committee. Dr. Okunieff was previously the branch chief of Radiation Oncology at the NCI (Bethesda, MD), the chair of Radiation Oncology at the University of Rochester (UR), and the director of the UFHCC.

Dr. Okunieff’s research focuses on the mitigation of radiation-induced tissue damage, including the study of biomarkers to determine the severity of radiation damage and treatment outcomes. He has authored over 250 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and editorials in this field. He was the steering committee chair for the Centers for Medical Countermeasures against Radiation (CMCR) from 2005-2010, the chair for 7 CMCR symposia sponsored by NIAID (often with the FDA and DoD), the PI of the UR CMCR (a $25M research grant), and the site PI of a BARDA contract at UF ($5M) as well as a program project grants ($5M). His CMCR accomplishments include a promising biodosimeter (plasma DNA measured by DiaCarta’s QuantiDNA technology) and several potential mitigation agents for bone marrow, gastrointestinal (GI), cutaneous, and pulmonary damage after lethal dose irradiation. His discoveries have been licensed to multiple companies (Entrinsic Health Inc, GainPep Inc, Eva Pharmaceuticals). He has co-authored over 20 patents in the radiobiology and biomarkers field. In addition, Dr.Okunieff has extensive experience overseeing clinical protocol development; clinical services; medical physics and medical physics research; a radiobiology basic research team; and basic and clinical radiobiology training. Dr. Okunieff is also the chief scientific officer and a cofounder of Entrinsic Health, the distributor of Enterade—a rehydration solution that mitigates radiation-induced GI toxicity.

In 2017, Dr. Okunieff was awarded a 3-year, $4.5M contract with the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases through the Radiation Nuclear Countermeasures Program. This contract supports “FGF-P: A Multipotential Mitigation Agent for Gastrointestinal Syndrome,” a project investigating the mechanisms by which fibroblast growth factor-peptide (FGF-P) reduces the sometimes life-threatening effects of radiation on gastrointestinal function. The Okunieff team will determine if FGF-P effectively and safely mitigates gastrointestinal syndrome while also potentially benefiting other radiation-related and physical trauma-related consequences of a nuclear blast.

Educational Background

  • Radiation Oncology Residency and Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • MD, Harvard Medical School
  • BS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Selected Honors and Awards

  • Royal Knight, Ocala Royal Dames, Ocala, FL, 2017
  • Health Equity Leadership Award, FL MiCaRT Center, University of Florida, 2015
  • Marshall E. Rinker Sr. Foundation and David B. and Leighan R. Rinker Chair, University of Florida Health Cancer Center, Gainesville, FL, 2011-2015
  • Technology Innovator Award, A Celebration of Innovation Inventors’ Reception, University of Florida, 2012
  • Philip Rubin Professor in Radiation Oncology, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, 1997-2010
  • Rubin-Mitchell Teaching Award, University of Rochester Department of Radiation Oncology, 2007
  • Davey Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cancer Research, James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, University of Rochester, 2001
  • Melvin H. Knisely Award, International Society on Oxygen Transport to Tissue, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, 1991

Contact

University of Florida Health Department of Radiation Oncology
Davis Cancer Pavilion
2000 SW Archer Rd., Suite 1202
PO Box 100385, Gainesville, FL 32610-0385

Office: (352) 265-8470
Fax: (352) 265-0759
Email: pokunieff@ufl.edu