Meet Dr. Kenneth Westover

Ken Westover, M.D., Ph.D., wears many hats. He is a member of the lung cancer team, Director of Information Technology and Innovation for the Department of Radiation Oncology, and Director of the Westover Research Laboratory, located in the Department of Biochemistry, which is dedicated to cancer biology and the development of new drugs.

I look at cancer from its molecular basis to the physics of radiation treatment.”

After completion of the Stanford University Medical Scientist Training Program (1999-2007) and residency training in Harvard Radiation Oncology Program (2007-2012) where he distinguished himself as a fellow in radiation oncology and a scientist specializing in drug development for cancer, Dr. Westover was recruited to UT Southwestern.

Westover’s work has been published in numerous clinical and high-profile basic science journals. He has also authored several book chapters relating to radiation therapy. His scientific work shed light on the way genes are transcribed and was cited in the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to his mentor Roger Kornberg, Ph.D.

“I want to relieve the burdens of cancer in any way I can. I am fully committed to serving cancer patients through basic research, clinical innovation, and the highest quality patient care,” says Dr. Westover. “I feel fortunate to work with several highly skilled teams that are making a difference for cancer patients.”

Clinically, Dr. Westover specializes in treating lung cancer and is particularly interested in using stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) – also known as stereotactic ablative radiation therapy (SABR) – to treat cancer patients, an approach that was pioneered by another member of UT Southwestern’s radiation oncology team, Robert Timmerman, M.D. This stronger, “ablative” dose of radiation precisely targets and destroys tumors in just a few treatments.

In the lab, Dr. Westover is focused on developing targeted drugs and understanding how certain mutant proteins cause cancer. While at Harvard he was the first to publish clinical results showing that protons can be used to deliver effective SBRT for early stage lung cancer in patients with poor pulmonary function.  

Clinical Specialties/Interests

Radiation Oncology

  • Radiation therapy for lung cancer
  • Hypofractionated radiation therapy
  • Stereotactic ablative radiation therapy (SABR) or stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)
  • External beam radiation therapy
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy
  • Management of side effects of radiation therapy
  • Innovation through technology