Medical Physics

Medical physics research at the University of Adelaide focuses on improving healthcare through enhanced clinical radiotherapy and medical imaging, and future clinical applications of proton therapy.


Our research occurs in collaboration with the expertise and specialised training of affiliate medical physicists at several Adelaide hospitals.

Our experts work at the forefront of healthcare, in cancer treatment facilities, diagnostic imaging departments and hospital-based research establishments - often involving the use of x-rays, ultrasound, magnetic and electric fields, infra-red and ultraviolet light, heat and lasers in diagnosis and therapy.

We also have a variety of medical and health based research projects which utilise the application of optics, photonics and lasers and environmental luminescence techniques.

Research areas

  • Radiobiological modelling

    Many physical principles are applicable in the analysis of tumour development and retardation with therapy.

    This program is applying Monte Carlo techniques to model the growth of a tumour from a single cell.

    Similar techniques are then being applied to examine the response of the tumour to radio and chemotherapy. Experimental work is also being conducted in conjunction with the IMVS to substantiate the developed models.

  • Solid state dosimetry

    Radiotherapy is currently based on a predictive methodology: external beam and brachytherapy source parameters are measured and modelled by the planning computer to predict the dose distribution within the patient.

    However, as all physicists know, there are experimental uncertainties. Therefore, the dose delivered to the patient may not be as precise as the theory predicts. Affiliate research staff with expertise in solid state dosimeters and optical dosimetry systems in particular are developing a range of novel dosimeters for applications in radiation oncology.

  • Proton therapy

    Proton therapy is a rapidly expanding field in radiation oncology and in 2017 the Australian Federal Government and South Australian State Government committed over $100 million to establish Australia's first proton therapy centre in Adelaide. Protons have a more favourable dose deposition characteristic than X-rays when it comes to treating deep-seated tumours and may reduce treatment related toxicities for certain patients.

    Our research group is working on a number of aspects of proton therapy including radiobiological modelling comparisons between protons and x-rays and novel image guidance techniques to allow for online adaptive radiotherapy.


  • Researchers

  • Affiliates

    Affiliate institutions

    The medical physics postgraduate program is run in collaboration with the Department of Medical Physics, Royal Adelaide Hospital.

    Affiliate titleholders

    Radiation oncology and radiobiology

    Name Institution
    Prof Eva Bezak UniSA
    Dr Wendy Harriss-Phillips Royal Adelaide Hospital
    Dr Mohammad Mohammadi Royal Adelaide Hospital
    Dr Thomas Rutten Royal Adelaide Hospital
    Dr Scott Penfold Royal Adelaide Hospital
    Dr Michael Douglass Royal Adelaide Hospital
    Mr Madhava Bhat Adelaide Radiotherapy Centre

    Diagnostic medical imaging

    Dr Donald McRobbie
    Mr Peter Collins
  • Research students

    Current PhD students

    Name Project
    Annabelle Austin Development of a Markov radiobiology decision aid for proton therapy referral.
    Corey Bridger Photogrammetry in radiation oncology
    Alexandra Chapsky Development of a 3D OSL dosimeter for radiotherapy.
    Matthew Jennings 3D scintillation dosimetry.
    James Keal Radiotherapy dose calculation algorithm.

    Current MPhil students

    Name Project
    George Antoniou EPID Transit Dosimetry for Patient Specific QA
    Giuseppe Caporaso Building a prototype DE CBCT scanner.
    Christopher Colyer Prediction of cancer metastasis via the application of geospatial analysis.
    Robert Crane Electron Monte Carlo dose calculation verification.
    Stephen Gibson Development of a Monte Carle MU verification tool
    Lucy Grigoroff Lu PSM for a metastatic prostate cancer.
    Olivia Lannan Validation of the fibre tracking software MRtrix for clinical use.
    Holly Stephens Effectiveness of borated polyethylene lining for Linac shielding.
    Hilary Todd Clinical impact of electron Monte Carlo dose prescription in terms of dose to medium and dose to water.