Informatics techniques applied to quality-of-life questionnaire data in radiation oncology - MDPH 396 Undergraduate Research Project Application Form

Supervisor's Name: John Kildea

Supervisor's Email: john.kildea [at]

Supervisor's Phone: 5144758943

Supervisor's Website:

Supervisor's department: Medical Physics

Course number: MDPH 396 (Medical Physics)

Term: Winter 2018

Project start date: Monday, January 8th, 2018

Project end date: Monday, April 16th, 2018

Project title: Informatics techniques applied to quality-of-life questionnaire data in radiation oncology

Project description (50-100 words suggested): Radiation oncology is a branch of oncology in which cancer patients are treated with ionizing radiation to kill or shrink their tumors or provide pain relief. Although very effective, radiation therapy is not without side effects. The goal of radiotherapy treatment planning is thus to maximize the radiation dose to the target, to kill the tumor, while minimizing the dose, and likelihood of side effects, to the surrounding (healthy) organs.
At the McGill University Health Centre, patients undergoing radiation therapy for head and neck cancer complete quality of life questionnaires over the course of their treatments to report any side effects that they might be experiencing. These questionnaires allow clinicians to better tailor treatments to the patients' clinical needs and they serve as research data to help improve the effectiveness of future radiotherapy.
This informatics research project will involve extracting existing quality-of-life data from a database and visualizing the results in aggregate. The student will write SQL queries and develop a dynamic webpage incorporating HighCharts graphics. The student will work closely with the medical physics and radiation oncology teams at the MUHC.

Prerequisite: 1 term completed at McGill + CGPA of 3.0 or higher; or permission of instructor.

Grading scheme (The final report must be worth at least 50% of final grade): 50% final report, 50% milestones and progress.

Other project information: Student is expected to spend one afternoon or morning per week at the MUHC Glen site (metro Vendome)

Project status: This project is open to applicant.

How students can apply / Next steps: Please contact me by email (john.kildea [at] for further steps/information

Ethics, safety, and training: Supervisors are responsible for the ethics and safety compliance of undergraduate students. This project involves NEITHER animal subjects, nor human subjects, nor biohazardous substances, nor radioactive materials, nor handling chemicals, nor using lasers.