In Memory of Edward L. Nickoloff, DSc

Professor Emeritus of Radiology and Chief Physicist

March 18, 2019
Dr. Edward Nickoloff

The Department of Radiology mourns the passing of an esteemed colleague and valued leader of our medical physics team for more than 30 years, Dr. Edward Nickoloff. 

Dr. Nickoloff was born in Harrisburg, PA in 1942.  After graduating from Lebanon Valley College, he went on to receive a Master's of Science degree from the University of New Hampshire, and then attended John Hopkins School of Public Health where he received a Doctor of Science degree with distinction in 1977.  From 1977 to 1981 he was assistant professor of radiology and the acting director of physics and engineering in the Department of Radiology of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

In 1981, Dr. Nickoloff joined the Department of Radiology at Columbia University Medical Center to lead the medical physics division as chief medical physicist. Over the next three decades he became known nationally and internationally as an expert on the scientific principles of medical imaging and radiation doses from radiological procedures and the biological effects induced from radiation exposure. He was involved in quality control testing of X-ray units, mammography units, fluoroscopy systems, CT scanners, and MRI and ultrasound units, ensuring that regulatory requirements were met and safe and effective diagnostic information was provided. He taught graduate students and radiology residents about the physics associated with medical imaging.

Dr. Nickoloff also conducted research in radiology imaging and radiation dosimetry. He presented over 150 professional lectures at scientific meetings and published 57 peer reviewed journal articles and 87 abstracts. He also published two books entitled Radiology Review: Radiologic Physics, which is used in radiology residency programs across the country, and Applications of Statistics to Medicine and Medical Physics.  Among his many professional affiliations throughout his career are positions such as president of the Radiological and Medical Physics Society of New York (RAMPS), chairman of the American College of Medical Physicists (ACMP), and secretary of the American Board of Medical Physics (APMP). Throughout his career, he received dozens of honors and awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Upstate NY Association of Physicists in Medicine, the Edith Quimby Award from the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and the Marvin Williams, MD Award from the AAPM/ACMP. He also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Lebanon Valley College. The president of Columbia University awarded Dr. Nickoloff  the permanent title of Professor Emeritus of Radiology and Medical Physics for his 33 years of service to the University.

Dr. Nickoloff retired due to his illness in 2014.  At the time of his retirement, he was Professor of Environmental Health Sciences (Radiation Physics), Mailman School of Public Health and Professor of Radiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons. 

Dr. Nickoloff passed away on March 11, 2019.  He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Diane (Zambetti); daughter, Andrea; son Edward Jr., and daughter-in-law, Katarina. He was devoted to his family and loved the outdoors, reading, and music.

In lieu of flowers, please donate in his memory to a cancer society of your choice.