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Advanced analysis of urological cancer imaging for use in high technology radiotherapy treatments

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Reynolds
    Dr Haworth
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Radiation therapy is a common form of treatment given to cancer patients. Treatment can cause unwanted side effects as a result of irradiating healthy tissue in the area surrounding the tumour. The amount of healthy tissue irradiated can be reduced using advanced imaging techniques to precisely define, and accurately target the tumour volume with a high dose of radiation.
Our group has several projects in progress related to accurately defining and targeting tumour volumes using multi-parametric MRI (mpMRI). These include: development of image processing techniques, registration of ultrasound with MRI, PET imaging and radiobiological modelling. For prostate cancer we aim to characterise tumour location and tumour biology for development of focal therapy treatments. Similarly, mpMRI data of patients with renal cancers enrolled in a clinical trial will be analysed. Multiple or single components of these projects may be selected depending on the type of higher degree required.
Projects would be suitable for students with expertise in one or more of the following areas: medical physics, biomedical engineering, imaging, computer vision, machine learning, or bioinformatics. Students will work alongside a multidisciplinary team, including biomedical engineers, physicists, radiation oncologists, MRI/ PET imaging professionals, and pathologists.

This project will be supervised by Associate Professor Annette Haworth, Dr Hayley Reynolds, Associate Professor Scott Williams and Professor Tomas Kron.

The Department of Physical Sciences houses a dedicated group of researchers harnessing the physical sciences to optimise the delivery of cancer treatments, developing techniques that increase tumour exposure to effective therapy and simultaneously reduce the exposure of normal tissues.

Research Interests:
• Improving the accuracy of radiation therapy in planning and delivery and ensuring equipment complies with prescribed dosages.
• Conducting compliance testing, refining and improving image quality in diagnostic imaging equipment such as planar X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scanners and fluoroscopy.
• Developing methods to utilise modern imaging techniques to improve accuracy of radiation delivery.
• Developing tools to support clinical trials to assess the utility of modern radiation oncology technology.
• Improving the surveying and monitoring of radiation protection and electromedical equipment.

A strength of the research group is the involvement of medical physicists and biomedical engineers to turn ideas into clinical practice. This has led to many successful innovations, such as a computer controlled rotating turntable for whole body electron treatments, a novel monitor unit calculation program, credentialling tools for clinical trials and the development of an infra-red motion detection system to monitor movement of paediatric patients.

Funding Notes

All PhD students at Peter Mac must have a scholarship from The University of Melbourne or through another government, trust or philanthropic organisation. Before applying for a scholarship, you must have agreed on a project with an institute supervisor.
For further information regarding scholarships (both local and international), see http://research.mdhs.unimelb.edu.au/scholarships
Closing dates for applications for scholarships to commence in 2016: Round 1 -31 October 2015; Round 2 - 18 Dec 2015

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