- Chief Resident - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (2013-2014), Radiation Oncology
- Clinical Research Fellowship - Cornell/Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Clinical Research
- Residency - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (2010-2013), Radiation Oncology
- Internship - Mount Auburn Hospital (2009-2010), Internal Medicine
- Medical School - Harvard Medical School (2005-2009)
- Graduate School - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1997-2005), Nuclear Engineering/radiological Sciences
Michael Folkert, M.D., Ph.D.
- Radiation Oncology
- Gastrointestinal Cancers
- Radiation Therapy for Gastrointestinal Cancer
Michael Folkert, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He specializes in brachytherapy.
Dr. Folkert earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in nuclear engineering at MIT, all the while thinking he would probably work in a nuclear power plant or in the nuclear waste disposal industry. It wasn’t until he was working on his Ph.D. that he was introduced to medical physics, a branch of general physics that specializes in applying radiation to the treatment of cancer.
“As part of my doctorate research, I worked in an accelerator laboratory building devices capable of delivering single protons to the nuclei of individual cells, where their biological impact could be observed and measured,” Dr. Folkert says. “After that, I worked in the medical physics department at the Massachusetts General Hospital and began collaborating with the radiation oncologists on intraoperative cases. I decided I liked what the doctors were doing and went back to school to get my medical degree.”
Dr. Folkert earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and went on to complete a radiation oncology residency at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, with an emphasis on brachytherapy.
“I enjoy combining what I know about physics with treating cancer,” says Dr. Folkert. “Brachytherapy, in particular, has entered a new era in which we are able to definitively treat cancers that were extremely difficult to treat in the past.”
In 2019, Dr. Folkert was named a Texas Monthly Super Doctor Rising Star.
Dr. Folkert enjoys wood- and metalworking, visiting museums, and reading science fiction in his free time.
Meet Dr. Folkert
Radiation Oncologist and Brachytherapy Specialist
Michael Folkert, M.D., Ph.D., focuses on treating many different cancer sites with brachytherapy (pronounced “bray-key-therapy”), a type of radiation treatment that uses applicators to place a radioactive source directly within or next to a tumor.
"We can hope to curatively treat even patients with locally advanced cancers requiring extensive surgery."
It’s a very specialized approach with which Dr. Folkert has significant experience, first as a nuclear engineer and medical physicist working on brachytherapy delivery, and later as a physician treating patients, developing new devices, and conducting clinical trials to study brachytherapy’s effectiveness.
Now an assistant professor with UT Southwestern’s Department of Radiation Oncology, Dr. Folkert is helping to build the department’s intraoperative radiation therapy program, in which surgical patients can have their tumor beds treated directly with brachytherapy applicators in the operating room before their surgical wounds are closed. Dr. Folkert also brings to the practice his experience in the intraocular treatment of melanoma.
UT Southwestern has committed the resources to construct a shielded, full-function operating room where intraoperative brachytherapy and other complex brachytherapy procedures can be delivered safely. Very few facilities can provide this service, which is generally available at only the largest academic cancer centers in the U.S.
“It requires careful multidisciplinary coordination between the surgical, radiation oncology, and medical physics services – something at which UT Southwestern excels,” Dr. Folkert says.
The benefits to patients make brachytherapy worth the investment.
“With brachytherapy, we can completely circumvent the need to go through healthy tissue to reach the target,” Dr. Folkert says. “With this technique we can hope to curatively treat even patients with locally advanced cancers requiring extensive surgery, and patients who have had their disease return after prior external beam radiation therapy.”
- American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) (2005)
- Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) (2010)
- American Brachytherapy Society (ABS) (2011)
- American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) (2012)
- Connective Tissue Oncology Society (CTOS) (2014)
- American Radium Society (2016)
- Texas Monthly Super Doctor Rising Star 2019
- MIT Karl Taylor Compton Prize 2005
- New York Roentgen Society Best of ASTRO 2011 Award, CNS 2011
- Best of ASTRO Presentation Recognition 2013
- ASCO Pain and Symptom Management (Merit) Award 2013
- 2013 ASTRO Resident Clinical /Basic Science Research Award (Physics) 2013
- 2014 American Brachytherapy Society Resident Travel Grant Award 2014
- 2016-2017 ARRO Educator of the Year Award 2017
Increasing the Therapeutic Ratio of Radiotherapy
Laine A., Wardak Z., Folkert M.R., Timmerman R.D.(Ed.) (2017), Cham, Switzerland, Springer Nature
Radiation Therapy for Liver Tumors: Fundamentals and Clinical Practice
M.R. Folkert, B.A. Hrycushko(Ed.) (2017), Switzerland, Springer International Publishing
Folkert M.R., Zelefsky M.J.(Ed.) (2013), Philadelphia, Pa., USA, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins-Wolters Kluwer
Target Volume Delineation for Conformal and Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy
Romesser P.B., Folkert M.R., Goodman K.A.(Ed.) (2015), Switzerland, Springer International Publishing
Target Volume Delineation and Field Setup: A Practical Guide for Conformal and Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy
Goodman K.A., Folkert M.R.(Ed.) (2013), Berlin Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
- Increasing the Therapeutic Ratio of Radiotherapy
Femoral Fracture in Primary Soft-Tissue Sarcoma of the Thigh and Groin Treated with Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy: Observed versus Expected Risk.
Folkert MR, Casey DL, Berry SL, Crago A, Fabbri N, Singer S, Alektiar KM Annals of surgical oncology 2019 Jan
Safety Analysis From a Prospective Registry Study of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy for Aggressive Management of Late-Stage Disease.
Maquilan G, Westover KD, Wardak Z, Timmerman RD, Hannan R, Iyengar P, Schwartz DL, Meyer JJ, Abdulrahman RE, Folkert MR, Laine AM, Desai NB, Albuquerque KV, Choy H, Ahn C, Rahimi AS International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2016 Oct 96 2S E527
Predicting lung nodule malignancies by combining deep convolutional neural network and handcrafted features.
Li S, Xu P, Li B, Chen L, Zhou Z, Hao H, Duan Y, Folkert MR, Ma J, Huang S, Jiang SB, Wang J, Physics in medicine and biology 2019 Jul
Natural History of Progression After Biochemical Failure Following Postoperative Radiation Therapy in Prostate Cancer.
Tumati V, Spratt DE, Jackson WC, Feng FY, Roehrborn C, Lotan Y, Pistenmaa DA, Laine AM, Folkert MR, Hannan R, Desai NB International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2016 Oct 96 2S E239
Spinal nerve tolerance to single-session stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SAbR).
Hrycushko B, van der Kogel AJ, Phillips L, Folkert M, Sayre JW, Vernino S, Hassan-Rezaeian N, Foster RD, Yamada Y, Timmerman R, Medin PM, International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2019 Apr
Multi-objective based radiomic feature selection for lesion malignancy classification.
Zhou Z, Li S, Qin G, Folkert M, Jiang S, Wang J, IEEE journal of biomedical and health informatics 2019 Feb
Clinical and PET Parameters as Prognostic Factors for Patients with Cervical Carcinoma: Clinical Implications of a Predictive Model Generated by a Support Vector Machine.
Maquilan G, Thomas K, Zhou Z, Wang J, Folkert MR, Albuquerque KV International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2016 Oct 96 2S S51
Omitting Radiation From Adjuvant Management of Stage III Endometrial Cancer Is Associated With Reduced Survival: An Analysis From The National Cancer Data Base (NCDB).
Wang CJ, Christie A, Folkert MR, Xie XJ, Albuquerque KV International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2016 Oct 96 2S E288
Automatic PET cervical tumor segmentation by combining deep learning and anatomic prior.
Chen L, Shen C, Zhou Z, Maquilan G, Albuquerque K, Folkert MR, Wang J Physics in medicine and biology 2019 Feb
Radiation Therapy for Palliation of Osseous Metastasis From Primary Liver Malignancy.
Lau SK, Singal AG, Yopp A, Meyer JJ, Hall D, Folkert MR International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2016 Oct 96 2S E515
A pilot study using kernelled support tensor machine for distant failure prediction in lung SBRT.
Li S, Yang N, Li B, Zhou Z, Hao H, Folkert MR, Iyengar P, Westover K, Choy H, Timmerman R, Jiang S, Wang J Medical image analysis 2018 Sep 50 106-116
4D liver tumor localization using cone-beam projections and a biomechanical model.
Zhang Y, Folkert MR, Li B, Huang X, Meyer JJ, Chiu T, Lee P, Tehrani JN, Cai J, Parsons D, Jia X, Wang J Radiotherapy and oncology : journal of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology 2018 Nov
A Phase II Clinical Trial of SAbR Followed by Immediate Vertebroplasty for Spine Metastases.
Wardak Z, Bland R, Ahn C, Xie XJ, Chason D, Morrill K, Stehel E, Nedzi L, Ding C, Medin P, Boike T, Abdulrahman R, Folkert M, Iyengar P, Kim N, Choy H, Bagley C, Timmerman R International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2019 Jan
Addition of Iodinated Contrast to Rectal Hydrogel Spacer to Facilitate MRI-Independent Target Delineation and Treatment Planning for Prostate Cancer.
Atluri PS, Gannavarapu BS, Timmerman RD, Garant A, Hannan R, Folkert MR, Desai NB, Practical radiation oncology 2019 Jun
Predicting Distant Failure in Lung Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Using Multiobjective Radiomics Model.
Zhou Z, Folkert MR, Iyengar P, Zhang Y, Westover KD, Wang J International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2016 Oct 96 2S S193-S194
Accurate segmenting of cervical tumors in PET imaging based on similarity between adjacent slices.
Chen L, Shen C, Zhou Z, Maquilan G, Thomas K, Folkert MR, Albuquerque K, Wang J Computers in biology and medicine 2018 Apr 97 30-36
Value of combined adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation on survival for stage III uterine cancer: is less radiation equal to more?
Wang CJ, Christie A, Folkert MR, Xie XJ, Albuquerque K Journal of gynecologic oncology 2018 Jul 29 4 e49
Shell feature: a new radiomics descriptor for predicting distant failure after radiotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer and cervix cancer.
Hao H, Zhou Z, Li S, Maquilan G, Folkert MR, Iyengar P, Westover KD, Albuquerque K, Liu F, Choy H, Timmerman RD, Yang L, Wang J Physics in medicine and biology 2018 Apr
Prognostic Significance of Nodal Location and Ratio in Stage IIIC Endometrial Carcinoma Among a Multi-Institutional Academic Collaboration.
Mayadev J, Elshaikh MA, Christie A, Nagel C, Kennedy V, Khan N, Lea J, Ghanem A, Miller D, Xie XJ, Folkert M, Albuquerque K American journal of clinical oncology 2018 Apr
Rectal radiation dose-reduction techniques in prostate cancer: a focus on the rectal spacer.
Leiker AJ, Desai NB, Folkert MR Future oncology (London, England) 2018 Jun
GPU-based streaming architectures for fast cone-beam CT image reconstruction and demons deformable registration.
Sharp GC, Kandasamy N, Singh H, Folkert M Physics in medicine and biology 2007 Oct 52 19 5771-83
Practical approaches to four-dimensional heavy-charged-particle lung therapy.
Mori S, Wu Z, Folkert MR, Kumagai M, Dobashi S, Sugane T, Baba M Radiological physics and technology 2010 Jan 3 1 23-33
Intraoperative 32P high-dose rate brachytherapy of the dura for recurrent primary and metastatic intracranial and spinal tumors.
Folkert MR, Bilsky MH, Cohen GN, Zaider M, Dauer LT, Cox BW, Boland PJ, Laufer I, Yamada Y Neurosurgery 2012 Nov 71 5 1003-10; discussion 1010-1
Postoperative pelvic intensity-modulated radiotherapy and concurrent chemotherapy in intermediate- and high-risk cervical cancer.
Folkert MR, Shih KK, Abu-Rustum NR, Jewell E, Kollmeier MA, Makker V, Barakat RR, Alektiar KM Gynecologic oncology 2013 Feb 128 2 288-93
Pelvic insufficiency fractures in patients with cervical and endometrial cancer treated with postoperative pelvic radiation.
Shih KK, Folkert MR, Kollmeier MA, Abu-Rustum NR, Sonoda Y, Leitao MM, Barakat RR, Alektiar KM Gynecologic oncology 2013 Mar 128 3 540-3
A comparative dosimetric analysis of virtual stereotactic body radiotherapy to high-dose-rate monotherapy for intermediate-risk prostate cancer.
Spratt DE, Scala LM, Folkert M, Voros L, Cohen GN, Happersett L, Katsoulakis E, Zelefsky MJ, Kollmeier MA, Yamada Y Brachytherapy 2013 Sep-Oct 12 5 428-33
Endoluminal high-dose-rate brachytherapy for early stage and recurrent esophageal cancer in medically inoperable patients.
Folkert MR, Cohen GN, Wu AJ, Gerdes H, Schattner MA, Markowitz AJ, Ludwig E, Ilson DH, Bains MS, Zelefsky MJ, Goodman KA Brachytherapy 2013 Sep-Oct 12 5 463-70
Intraoperative and percutaneous iridium-192 high-dose-rate brachytherapy for previously irradiated lesions of the spine.
Folkert MR, Bilsky MH, Cohen GN, Zaider M, Lis E, Krol G, Laufer I, Yamada Y Brachytherapy 2013 Sep-Oct 12 5 449-56
Intraoperative phosphorus-32 brachytherapy plaque for multiply recurrent high-risk epidural neuroblastoma.
Tong WY, Folkert MR, Greenfield JP, Yamada Y, Wolden SL Journal of neurosurgery. Pediatrics 2014 Apr 13 4 388-92
Outcomes and toxicity for hypofractionated and single-fraction image-guided stereotactic radiosurgery for sarcomas metastasizing to the spine.
Folkert MR, Bilsky MH, Tom AK, Oh JH, Alektiar KM, Laufer I, Tap WD, Yamada Y International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2014 Apr 88 5 1085-91
Local recurrence outcomes using the (32)P intraoperative brachytherapy plaque in the management of malignant lesions of the spine involving the dura.
Folkert MR, Bilsky MH, Cohen GN, Voros L, Oh JH, Zaider M, Laufer I, Yamada Y Brachytherapy 2014 Dec
Temporal relationship of post-operative radiotherapy with temozolomide and oncologic outcome for glioblastoma.
Spratt DE, Folkert M, Zumsteg ZS, Chan TA, Beal K, Gutin PH, Pentsova E, Yamada Y Journal of neuro-oncology 2014 Jan 116 2 357-63
20-year experience with intraoperative high-dose-rate brachytherapy for pediatric sarcoma: outcomes, toxicity, and practice recommendations.
Folkert MR, Tong WY, LaQuaglia MP, Wexler LH, Chou AJ, Magnan H, Zelefsky MJ, Wolden SL International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2014 Oct 90 2 362-8
Dose to the bladder neck is the most important predictor for acute and late toxicity after low-dose-rate prostate brachytherapy: implications for establishing new dose constraints for treatment planning.
Hathout L, Folkert MR, Kollmeier MA, Yamada Y, Cohen GN, Zelefsky MJ International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2014 Oct 90 2 312-9
Outcomes and Prognostic Factors in Women With 1 to 3 Breast Cancer Brain Metastases Treated With Definitive Stereotactic Radiosurgery.
Yang TJ, Oh JH, Folkert MR, Gupta G, Shi W, Zhang Z, Morikawa A, Seidman A, Brennan C, Yamada Y, Chan TA, Beal K International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2014 Sep
Comparison of Local Recurrence With Conventional and Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy for Primary Soft-Tissue Sarcomas of the Extremity.
Folkert MR, Singer S, Brennan MF, Kuk D, Qin LX, Kobayashi WK, Crago AM, Alektiar KM Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2014 Sep
Local Therapy Options for Oligometastatic Disease in the Liver
Folkert MR, Meyer J Current Colorectal Cancer Reports 2015 In Press
Employment After Radiation Oncology Residency: A Survey of the Class of 2014.
Bland RE, Hodges JC, Folkert MR, Iyengar P, Meyer JJ International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2015 Aug 92 5 969-70
Early magnetic resonance imaging biomarkers to predict local control after high dose stereotactic body radiotherapy for patients with sarcoma spine metastases.
Spratt DE, Perez JA, Leeman JE, Gerber NK, Folkert M, Taunk NK, Alektiar KM, Karimi S, Lyo JK, Tap WD, Bilsky MH, Laufer I, Yamada Y, Osborne JR The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society 2015 Aug
Review of treatment options for oligometastatic non-small cell lung cancer.
Folkert MR, Timmerman R Clinical advances in hematology & oncology : H&O 2015 Mar 13 3 186-93
Stereotactic ablative body radiosurgery (SABR) or Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT).
Folkert MR, Timmerman RD Advanced drug delivery reviews 2016 Dec
Decision analysis model evaluating the cost of a temporary hydrogel rectal spacer before prostate radiation therapy to reduce the incidence of rectal complications.
Hutchinson R, Sundaram V, Folkert M, Lotan Y Urologic oncology 2016 Mar
Remote location interstitial brachytherapy with patient stabilization and subsequent transport to an outpatient center for treatment is safe and effective for the treatment of gynecologic malignancies.
Tumati V, Folkert MR, Lawson S, Wise E, Wolcott S, Richardson D, Carlson M, Kehoe S, Lea J, Abdulrahman R, Albuquerque K Brachytherapy 2016 Mar
Stereotactic body radiotherapy for metastatic spinal sarcoma: a detailed patterns-of-failure study.
Leeman JE, Bilsky M, Laufer I, Folkert MR, Taunk NK, Osborne JR, Arevalo-Perez J, Zatcky J, Alektiar KM, Yamada Y, Spratt DE Journal of neurosurgery. Spine 2016 Mar 1-7
Predicting distant failure in early stage NSCLC treated with SBRT using clinical parameters.
Zhou Z, Folkert M, Cannon N, Iyengar P, Westover K, Zhang Y, Choy H, Timmerman R, Yan J, Xie XJ, Jiang S, Wang J Radiotherapy and oncology : journal of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology 2016 May
Adjuvant External Radiation Impacts Outcome of Pelvis-limited Stage III Endometrial Carcinoma: A Multi-institutional Study.
Albuquerque K, Folkert M, Mayadev J, Christie A, Liotta MR, Nagel C, Sevak P, Harkenrider MM, Lea JS, Hanna RK, Small WC, Miller DS, Xie XJ, Potkul RK, Elshaikh MA American journal of clinical oncology 2017 Feb
Anatomic Patterns of Recurrence Following Biochemical Relapse after Post-Prostatectomy Salvage Radiation Therapy: A Multi-Institutional Study.
Jackson WC, Desai N, Abugharib AE, Tumati V, Dess RT, Lee JY, Zhao SG, Soliman M, Folkert M, Laine A, Hannan R, Zumsteg ZS, Sandler H, Hamstra DA, Montgomery JS, Miller DC, Kozminski MA, Hollenbeck BK, Hearn JW, Palapattu G, Tomlins SA, Mehra R, Morgan TM, Feng FY, Spratt DE BJU international 2017 Jan
Local Hypothermia as a Radioprotector of the Rectal Wall During Prostate Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy.
Hrycushko BA, Chopra R, Sayre JW, Richardson JA, Folkert MR, Timmerman RD, Medin PM International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 2017 Jan
Endoluminal and Interstitial Brachytherapy for the Treatment of Gastrointestinal Malignancies: a Systematic Review.
Gottumukkala S, Tumati V, Hrycushko B, Folkert M Current oncology reports 2017 Jan 19 1 2
Dosimetric comparison of rectal-sparing capabilities of rectal balloon vs injectable spacer gel in stereotactic body radiation therapy for prostate cancer: lessons learned from prospective trials.
Jones RT, Hassan Rezaeian N, Desai NB, Lotan Y, Jia X, Hannan R, Kim DWN, Hornberger B, Dubas J, Laine AM, Zelefsky MJ, Timmerman RD, Folkert MR Medical dosimetry : official journal of the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists 2017 Jul
Predictive modeling of outcomes following definitive chemoradiotherapy for oropharyngeal cancer based on FDG-PET image characteristics.
Folkert MR, Setton J, Apte AP, Grkovski M, Young RJ, Schöder H, Thorstad WL, Lee NY, Deasy JO, Oh JH Physics in medicine and biology 2017 Jul 62 13 5327-5343
Reduced toxicity with equivalent outcomes using three-dimensional volumetric (3DV) image-based versus nonvolumetric point-based (NV) brachytherapy in a cervical cancer population.
Thomas KM, Maquilan G, Stojadinovic S, Medin P, Folkert MR, Albuquerque K Brachytherapy 2017 Jun
Natural History of 'Second' Biochemical Failure Following Salvage Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer: A Multi-Institution Study.
Tumati V, Jackson WC, Abugharib AE, Raj G, Roehrborn C, Lotan Y, Courtney K, Bagrodia A, Gahan JC, Zumsteg ZS, Folkert MR, Laine AM, Hannan R, Spratt DE, Desai NB BJU international 2017 Jun
Multi-objective radiomics model for predicting distant failure in lung SBRT.
Zhou Z, Folkert M, Iyengar P, Westover K, Zhang Y, Choy H, Timmerman R, Jiang S, Wang J Physics in medicine and biology 2017 May 62 11 4460-4478
- Femoral Fracture in Primary Soft-Tissue Sarcoma of the Thigh and Groin Treated with Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy: Observed versus Expected Risk.
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy
- Rectal Cancer
- Primary and metastatic lesions of the spine
- Oligometastatic disease
- Ocular tumors
- Intraoperative radiation therapy
- Interventions for Toxicity Reduction
- Image-guided and navigational interventional technology
- Image analysis and outcomes modeling
- Esophageal cancer
- Charged-particle therapy
- Gastrointestinal Cancers
- Radiation Therapy for Gastrointestinal Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Colorectal Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Esophageal Cancer
- Gallbladder/Bile Duct (Cholangiocarcinoma) Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Genitourinary Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Liver Cancer
- Ophthalmic Oncology
- Radiation Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer
- Peritoneal Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Stomach Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Sarcoma