The Medical Physics Unit (MPU) was founded in 1979 as an academic unit in the Faculty of Medicine, with the primary objective to offer a graduate program leading to an M.Sc. degree in medical physics. The first Director of the MPU was Montague Cohen, who was instrumental in establishing the graduate program in medical physics at McGill. During his 12 years as director of the MPU, Dr. Cohen succeeded in building the M.Sc. program in medical physics into a strong and reputable program that is well-known and respected worldwide.
In September 1991, Dr. Cohen was succeeded as Director of the MPU by Dr. Ervin B. Podgorsak who held the position until December 2008. Under the directorship of Dr. Podgorsak, the total number of students to have graduated from McGill University with an M.Sc. degree in medical physics grew by 130 to 168 and by 20 to a total of 24 with a Ph.D. degree in medical physics.
From January 2009 to August 2021 the position of Director of the MPU was held by Dr. Jan Seuntjens during which time the total number of students having graduated from McGill with degrees in medical physics since 1980 increased to 266 M.Sc. degrees and 55 Ph.D. degrees. As of Summer 2023, the total number of MSc medical physics graduates stands at 276 and total number of PhD graduates stands at 57.
Since March 2023 the position of Director of the MPU is held by Dr. Shirin A. Enger.
In 1979, six medical physicists with principal appointments in Radiation Oncology or Neurology-Neurosurgery departments at McGill received secondary appointments in the MPU. During the past 40 years, the number of MPU members grew to the current staff list of 37 (29 staff members plus 8 associate members).
Medical Physics is an interdisciplinary field with many interesting and rewarding career opportunities in clinical medical physics, medical physics research, and development in academia, industry, government, medical physics in regulatory agencies, etc. Our programs have a strong fundamental basis combined with modern clinical training that helps any graduate to reach his or her full career potential, whether in the clinic, research, government, or industry.
Shirin A. Enger, PhD
Director, Medical Physics Unit
Canada Research Chair in Medical Physics
Associate Professor, Gerald Bronfman Department of Oncology
Associate Member, Department of Physics; Department of Biomedical Engineering;