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Austin Kirschner, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology



2220 Pierce Ave, B944 TVC
Nashville, TN 37232

Austin Kirschner, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology


2220 Pierce Ave, B944 TVC
Nashville, TN 37232


I am a physician in the department of radiation oncology. I treat several types of malignancies including genitourinary, pediatrics, lymphoma, leukemia, and cutaneous malignancies.

I also have research interests that involve the study of cancer biology with focus on developing new cancer treatments and improving therapies that are currently used. I focus on targeted cancer treatment as well as the combination of drug therapy with radiation therapy to enhance its effectiveness, while limiting toxicity and side effects. Ultimately, my goal is to translate my research findings into clinical trials.

Research Interests

  • Prostate Cancer
  • Development of Radiation Sensitizing Drugs
  • Investigation of Cancer Treatment-Resistance Mechanisms
Clinical Interests

  • Pediatrics
  • Lymphoma / Leukemia
  • Genitourinary Malignancies
  • Tremor Treatment by Stereotactic Radiosurgery


  • Honors Scholar, New York University
  • Isidore Rubiner Award for Chemistry, New York University
  • NASA Graduate Student Research Program Fellowship Grant, New York University
  • Medical Scientist Training Program, Northwestern University
  • Biotechnology Training Program, Northwestern University
  • ABR Leonard B. Holman Research Pathway, Vanderbilt University
  • RSNA Roentgen Resident/Fellow Research Award, Vanderbilt University
  • American Brachytherapy Society HDR Brachytherapy Scholarship, Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Center, Toronto, CA


  • M.D., Northwestern University, Evanston/Chicago, Illinois (2009)
  • Ph.D., Northwestern University, Evanston/Chicago, Illinois (2007)
  • M.S., New York University, New York, New York (2001)
  • B.A., New York University, New York, New York (2000)

Postgraduate Training

  • Internship - Northshore University Healthsystem, Evanston, IL (Affiliate of University of Chicago)
  • Residency - Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN

Research Emphasis

Radiation Oncology, Cancer Biology, Mechanisms of Resistance to Cancer Therapies, Development of New Cancer Treatments

Research Description

My central theme of research is cancer biology with focus on developing new cancer treatments, especially for locally advanced and metastatic cancers that have limited treatments. I believe new cancer therapies should be targeted to specific cancer pathways to limit their toxicity and side effects, while providing effective treatment. I am a physician-scientist treating cancer patients in a department of radiation oncology and perform basic science and translational research investigating new cancer therapies and mechanisms. Ultimately, my goal is to directly translate my research findings into clinical trials with patients.

My current research focuses on prostate cancer, since there is a significant clinical deficit: nearly 30,000 men die from prostate cancer each year in the USA, making it the #2 cause of cancer death in men (world-wide: 1.1 million diagnosed and 307,000 deaths).

One research project studies a core mechanism in prostate cancer involving the oncogene PIM1 kinase, which has been implicated in numerous human malignancies, making it an important drug target for directed cancer therapy. I pursue research work that reveals PIM1-related mechanistic details in prostate cancer and demonstrates the efficacy of PIM1-directed inhibition for the treatment of prostate cancer.

Another research project focuses on resistance to current cancer-directed therapies. Drugs that improve the effectiveness hormone therapy (androgen deprivation therapy), radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are needed to treat localized high-risk and metastatic disease. I study detailed mechanisms of the androgen receptor pathway, the DNA-damage repair pathway, and other pathways toward developing new therapeutic agents.


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