Moffitt Presents Two Prestigious Awards

March 04, 2008

Tampa, FL –Moffitt Cancer Center honors two employees who are taking the lead in medical and scientific achievements.

            Dr. David Shibata was recognized as the 2007/2008 Physician of the Year. A surgical oncologist, Shibata is the section head of colorectal oncology at Moffitt and associate professor of surgery and oncology at the University of South Florida. He received his medical degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

            “I am truly honored and flattered to receive this prestigious award. However, it is really a tribute to the hard work of the members of my team who assist me on a daily basis to take care of my patients,” said Shibata.

He received the 2007 outstanding teacher award as the associate program director of surgical oncology fellowship at Moffitt. Shibata is one of few physicians in Florida and the only surgeon in the Tampa Bay area who performs the transanal endoscopic microsurgery. This is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove tumors from the rectum, allowing a patient to return home the same day of the procedure.

Dr. Gerold Bepler has been named 2008 Scientist of the Year. Bepler is the division chief of thoracic oncology at Moffitt, professor of medicine and oncology at the University of South Florida and director of the Comprehensive Lung Cancer Research Center.

Bepler received his medical degree and doctorate from Philipps University School of Medicine in Marburg, Germany and his postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland.

            A member of experimental therapeutics, he and his team achieved the best score on a recent NCI review of Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE), a first at Moffitt.

            Bepler has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in medical journals, including an award-winning article in the New England Journal of Medicine. His work has been presented in more than 200 lectures and workshops.        

About H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research InstituteLocated in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center ( is the only Florida-based cancer center with the NCI designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center for its excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt currently has 15 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia and two in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer, as well as for ear, nose and throat. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.