Medical Physics Unit

Photo of medical physicists, Dr. John Kildea and Dr. Shirin Enger, with Department Chair Dr. Eduardo Franco
The Medical Physics Unit (MPU) is the academic unit that forms the home of the academic, clinical and research activities of the medical physicists. Medical physicists apply knowledge and scientific methodology of physics to all aspects of medicine, to conduct research, develop or improve theories and address problems related to diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of human disease. Medical physicists have a strong footing in basic sciences, but have also first-hand experience in clinical applications. Developments in medicine are of increasingly complex nature and require a rigorous scientific skillset and knowledge from allied basic fields (physics, biology) so that new developments can be more easily imported and translated into clinical benefits.

The MPU fosters activities, both clinical and academic in nature, in radiation oncology as well as other applications of physics to medicine, such as radiology and health physics.

On the clinical front, successful delivery of radiation therapy requires a coordinated effort of a team of health care professionals including radiation oncologists, radiation technologists, medical physicists, medical dosimetrists and radiation oncology nurses. Most members of the Medical Physics Unit provide service to the Radiation Oncology Departments of either the Jewish General Hospital or the McGill University Health Centre. Members are also active in diagnostic radiology, where they are involved in the quality assurance of the radiology equipment, or in neurology, where they work to improve image-guided surgery through image processing and reconstruction. Finally, medical physicists play a key role in radiation safety monitoring in hospitals.

In addition to their role in patient care, the medical physicists in the Gerald Bronfman Department of Oncology also conduct a wide range of research projects aimed at refining and improving radiotherapy treatment, delivery and outcomes, as well as improving the diagnostic capability of imaging techniques. Medical physicists have been at the forefront of technology development and numerical Monte Carlo techniques, and are world leaders in innovation (e.g. linac-based stereotactic radiation therapy, conformal and intensity modulated treatment) and more contemporary fields such as radiomics. Research programs are active in the following areas:

• Clinical—including technology assessment, and development of techniques and trials.
• Physics—including radiation dosimetry, Monte Carlo techniques, microdosimetry, image-based adaptive radiation therapy, applications of MR-imaging in radiation therapy and neurology.
• Biology—including normal tissue toxicity, small-animal research, bioinformatics, and patient-specific biomarkers.

Training of the next generation of medical physicists is a key mandate of the MPU division. Accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP), the Medical Physics Unit offers training leading to a medical physics M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree, a Certificate program (for retraining of Ph.D. graduates in allied fields into medical physics), as well as a two-year residency training program. The MPU graduate and residency programs were amongst the first that were CAMPEP accredited in North America (accredited since 1993). The MPU is also the home of a newly established (2013) Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program termed, the Medical Physics Research Training Network (MPRTN), which is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Its goal is to strengthen research and innovation in medical physics. The Medical Physics Unit is also responsible for teaching a course in treatment planning to Residents in the Department’s Radiation Oncology Residency/Fellowship Training Program, an introduction to medical physics course to Radiology Residents and four courses in medical physics to Dawson College students registered in the affiliated Radiation Oncology Program.

Director: shirin.enger [at] (Prof. Shirin A. Enger) (March 2023 - present)
Clinical Chief MUHC: william.parker [at] (Mr. William Parker)
Clinical Chief JGH:
Tel: (514) 934-8052

Margery Knewstubb, Academic Affairs - Tel: 514-934-1934 x44158
Tatjana Nisic, Clinical Affairs & Research Coordinator - Tel: 514-934-1934 x48052

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