Seminar Notes

Medical Physics Education

Attendance of seminar meetings, conferences and workshops is a habit that will add tremendous value to the capability and network opportunities of a medical physics in training. I am excited to share some of my seminar notes with visitors to this site. These seminar meetings are especially important first steps for a beginner in the field.

Seminar 1:

Title: Oxidative Stress and its Functional Consequences
Measured in Vivo by MRI

Venue: Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of
Illinois at Chicago.

Date: 10/21/2016

The presenter highlighted how MRI could be used to image the
retina so as to study its responses in the dark and light. This is an attempt
to find possible cure for diabetic retinopathy. Diabetics causes some free
radicals that damage the retina via the induction or pro-inflammation – causing
lesions in the eye tissues. It study the relationship between oxidative stress
and free radicals in rats, and current efforts are extending the study to
human. The method could also advance the cure for other diseases like alzheimer
and cancer. The official workshop describes this effort in the following words
“ In 1992, it was not obvious that MRI, a relatively insensitive and still
developing imaging method, would be useful for examining the retina, one of the
thinnest organs in the body. Since 1992, Dr. Berkowitz has established a body
of work that highlights MRI as a surprisingly useful discovery tool in vision.
These methods have been successful transitioned into cancer and brain research
areas and are used by drug companies and other investigators world-wide. “

Seminar 2:

Date : October 7, 2016 

Venue: UIC, Bioengineering Dept

Title: An MRI View of the Brain as a Complex Network of
Connected Structures

This seminar is about the use of edge weight in  3-D networks to improve the signal to noise
ratio of brain imaging. It could find potential application in reducing
artifacts in images of brain cells for distributions and diagnosis.
Several  images of excised rat brains
were shown for in vivo studies. The following are some of the main ideas of the

  • Isotropic resolution in excised rat brain
  • Properties of weighted brain networks
  • Information transfer efficiency
  • MRI of electric current density
  • Magnetic field drift and phase stability

I believe this technique could improve the brain tumor

Part of the abstract of the seminar reads “ Cognitive
processing relies upon the coordinated activity of the functional units of the
brain, which is enabled by structural connections between these units. Using
magnetic resonance imaging, the white matter structure, connecting gray matter
of the human brain, can be inferred from the measurement of water translational
diffusion. We are using this type of measurement to analyze brain structural
connectivity and have developed metrics of connection strength that allow the use
of graph theory to visualize the brain as a complex network of connected gray
matter regions organized to support cognition”

Seminar 3:

Date: September 12, 2016

Venue: Department of Radiology, University of Chicago..

Title: Tools and Techniques to Improve the Way We Teach and

Summaries:  The
seminar presented the issues of resident education for radiologist. He suggests
that active learning techniques, assessment, case review and mentoring, and
technology could be used to engage residents so as to produce improve learning
environment. He used the review of curriculum at Tuft medical center and better
collaboration between the teaching faculty and residents that led to quality
resident products. He suggested that students in their early education career
should think carefully about the type of radiologist or (medical physicist)
they want to be so they could put in the right amount of commitment. He provided
information on sites with radiology, medical physics and related disciplines.

Seminar 4:

Venue: Georgia Tech

Title: Proton Therapy

Summaries: Dr. Howell introduce the subject of proton
therapy by stating with a brief review of concepts like,

  • Units like mSv/Gy
  • Dose equivalent versus distance field edge
  • Data calculation
  • Detection methods – neutron range of detection.

She then summarized her recent works in the field of proton

Seminar 5:

Date: Posted on T-Square

Venue: Georgia Tech

lTitle: Intense deuteron and proton induced neutron sources

Summaries: This concept has applications in radiotherapy and
material irradiation. Nuetron induced reactions include deuteron stripping that
faces competition from compound nucleus formation. Neutron therapy is use in
the treatment of certain types of tumors due effective dose on deep tumor, and
good kerma rate. The targets are selected based on their thermos-mechanical
properties, sometimes thick with low Z. Neutrons kill more tumor cells in
cancers like salvary gland, head and neck and some others. It seems effective
when compare with photon therapy. Fermi lab has a neutron therapy facility with
heavy concrete wall shielding. The neutrons are produces from Cockfrot-Walton
Accelerator. During treatment, patient’s head are immobilize and the collimator
set properly.

Seminar 6

Date: 11/03/16

Title: Tour of Graphite Reactor at Oakridge National Lab.

Summaries: Dr. Mason started with the history of the
graphite reactor with the contributions of earlier people like Enrico Fermi.
The explain the use of concrete shielding and the graphite slows down the
neutrons. Robotic models were used to load the nuclear fuel into the reactors.
In 1944, Plutonium 240 produced and could spontaneous fusion. The control room
used from 11/43 to 11/63 still has its log books, detectors and others.
According to the log book, 11/04/1943 was the first day of criticality achieved
at 5.00 am.

Although, the facility focused on war efforts but ground
breaking research were done too. Isotopes were produced that have application
in cancer therapy. The questions and answers will be attached under a separate

Seminars 7 and 8:

Venue: University of Chicago, Department of Radiology

Event: Radiology Expo
– Introducing Medical Students to a Career in Radiology

Time: 10:00 am to
3:00 pm

Presenters: Drs. Adrian Sanchez, Brittany Dashevsky and
Cameron Ghobadi

Title 1: Resident Radiology Research in Radiology @
University of Chicago

Title 2: The future of radiology, radiation exposure, life
of as a radiologist.

Date: November 5, 2016

Summaries:  Pre-registration
was required for this event. It is a radiology expo – introducing medical
students to a career in radiology. This event was sponsored by the department
of radiology diversity committee of the university of Chicago. Two resident
radiologist presented their researches on breast cancer imaging, and the recall
of imaging medical devices. Dr. Dashevsky explained how she decided to
specialize in breast cancer research with a training that began from Cornell
University. She showed several images of the breast and their interpretation
for tumor identification. The tumor may be benign or malignant. Usually.
Surgery is an option for treatment or radiotherapy or chemotherapy or
combination approaches. On the other hand, Dr. Ghobadi is trying to find the
common thread in recall imaging devices world wide. He hope to create an
information portal that could help patients and care givers on choosing viable
treatment using different devices.

The “The future of radiology, radiation exposure, life of as
a radiologist” was facilitated by Dr. Adrian Sanchez. Dr. Sanchez is a resident
medical physicist at the university of Chicago. The session was presented via a
game show in the form of jeopardy with categories covering various aspects of
radiology and radiotherapy. He highlighted that a lot of opportunities
available for patient interactions in addition to image reading. CT and MRI
continue to be imaging techniques that are widely used, and CT is a source of
ionizing radiation. Workers and radiation exposures revealed that pilots and
radiation lab workers faces similar level of radiation exposure. These workers
need to wear protective badges, follow ALARA principle, and be well trained in
radiation usage. Radiation safety for pregnant women requires they wear extra
lead over the abdomen and pelvis during x-ray imaging. The future of radiology
is moving towards the use of information technology to help patient treatment.
This could be in the form of voice recognition, data base of genetic
information and analysis, and other assistants from computer and tech to
support diagnosis, treatment and therapy.