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Anna Celler

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Dear Colleagues,

I’m sad to write to inform you of the recent passing (December 24th, 2020) of Anna Celler. Many of you will have personally interacted with Anna and I’m sure will appreciate the void that she leaves in the Canadian and International medical physics community, particularly in the field of Nuclear Medicine. Anna was awarded the COMP Gold Medal in 2018 and in 2015 she won the NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering. She had 131 peer-reviewed publications, 11 book chapters, 279 conference proceedings, and innumerable conference presentations and abstracts. Her research interests span a broad range of topics from Compton Cameras to image quantification, dynamic imaging, dosimetry in radioisotope therapies, imaging in radiotherapy treatment planning and cyclotron production of Tc99m. She was been awarded more than $12.5M in research funding as principle or co-investigator. Anna supervised or co-supervised 13 post-doctoral fellows and nearly 30 graduate students. The Medical Imaging Research Group (MIRG) that Anna was responsible for creating has endured and is now in its 3rd decade.

Beyond her considerable scientific achievements, Anna single-handedly had responsibility for the physics support of all nuclear medicine departments in the lower mainland of BC and this involved twelve departments with ~40 SPECT and SPECT/CT cameras and other equipment. Anna retired from this clinical role in 2011 after 20 years of service allowing her to pursue research and academic activities full-time.

Anna was very much a people person and a message to colleagues from her two children (Peter and Katherine (Kasia)) following her passing perhaps summarise this aspect best:

“As you probably know, people were the most important thing to Anna. I almost never heard her speak about publications or experimental results, but she frequently recounted anecdotes involving her collaborators, colleagues, and students. Anyone who worked in, or closely with, the MIRG would know about how she insisted on hosting annual Christmas parties and summer BBQs at her home, and I know she always wanted my sister and I to attend with our children as well, so that she could introduce her group to her family, and vice versa. In fact, I believe her students were her greatest source of professional pride. Their new positions, achievements, and accolades were the first thing she would point to when asked about her career.”

A memorial fundraising page for the BC Cancer Foundation is available at: http://donate.bccancerfoundation.com/goto/aceller

A Memorial Mass, limited to immediate family, was held on Tuesday December 29 at St Stephen’s Catholic Church in North Vancouver, and Anna will be interred at North Vancouver Cemetery the week of January 4.

Wayne Beckham
President

Published on 31 Dec 2020

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