Summer Lecture Series

The ACRF Image X Institute is opening its doors this summer to present the Summer Lecture Series.

Each week on Tuesdays at 4pm, one of our star researchers will take the audience through a different element of radiation therapy, followed by a Q&A session and light refreshments.

The Summer Lecture Series is suited to prospective PhD students, physicists, and anyone looking to learn more or have a refresher on the science behind the world’s most cost effective cancer treatment. Entry is free, you can register to attend one, a few, or all lectures.

Register here for free.

Lecture 1: Introduction to Radiation Therapy with Prof Paul Keall:

11am, January 14 2020

Radiation therapy (RT) describes a medical treatment where ionizing radiation is used to kill or damage cells. The radiation used could be protons, photons or electrons, and the cells being killed are typically cancerous (radiation oncology) but novel applications are emerging e.g. altering the conductivity of heart tissue to control heart arrythmias. Despite the widespread use and applicability of RT (recommended for 50% of all cancers and 75% of lung cancers), much of how and why RT is used remains a mystery to the general public. This lecture will communicate the fundamentals of RT, how it fits into the broader picture of oncology and medicine, as well as how the ACRF Image X institute contributes to the field.

Lecture 2: Radiobiology with Dr Paul Liu

4pm, January 21, 2020

Radiobiology 101 – Radiobiology is the study of how radiation interacts with the human body and the resulting health effects. It forms the mathematical basis upon which radiation therapy treatments are delivered in the treatment of cancer. This lecture will cover the basics of radiobiology starting with the mechanisms of radiation interactions at a cellular level, how these interactions are modelled mathematically and finally, how these models are used to optimise the radiation therapy treatments for the best patient outcomes.

Lecture 3: X-Ray Computed Tomography with Dr Owen Dilllon (NB: DATE CHANGED FROM FEB 4)

4pm, January 28, 2020

We are familiar with the use of x-rays to produce “shadow” images that reveal internal anatomy. While these 2D images are useful, it is often important to be able to visualise what is being imaged in 3D. Tomographic imaging allows us to see “slice-by-slice” a 3D object, allowing precise visualisation and localisation of structures within the object. These tomographic representations are stored in the computer as “voxels” (pixels with volume i.e. little boxes instead of little squares) with a brightness assigned to each. For x-ray imaging, these brightness values represent how much a voxel absorbs x-ray beams. This lecture will describe the physics and mathematics of x-ray computed tomography, where several 2D x-ray shadow images taken from different positions around an object can be combined to produce the tomographic representation.

Lecture 4: Radiotherapy Workflow and Motion Management with Dr Trang Nguyen (NB: DATE CHANGED FROM JAN 28)

4pm, February 4, 2020

A fundamental principal of radiation therapy is precise targeting, to ensure that the cancer is hit while sparing the surrounding organs. To achieve the treatment goal, a multi-disciplinary team of physicians, physicists and therapists are required. In this lecture, we will walk through the patient’s journey at a radiation oncology clinic from diagnosis to treatment. The principal behind commonly used terms in modern radiation therapy such as Image-guided radiotherapy, Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy will be explained. We will touch on the importance of motion management and central role of medical imaging throughout the treatment process.

Lecture 5: Introduction to MRI with Dr David Waddington

4pm, February 11, 2020

MRI is the gold standard of non-invasive soft tissue imaging in modern medicine. However, the complex physics exploited by MRI has meant that this crucial imaging modality remains a black box to many, including medical researchers. This talk will give a brief overview of the quantum phenomena underlying MRI and how they enable its diverse application in areas including cancer diagnosis and neuroscience. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of cutting-edge and future applications of MRI in fields such as radiation therapy.

Lecture 6: Anatomy of a Linac with Dr Brendan Whelan

4pm, February 18, 2020

Linear accelerators are the workhorses of radiation oncology, used to deliver therapeutic photon and electron beams to treat cancer. In this lecture, we will delve into how a linear accelerator actually functions, with a particular focus on the beam forming components. You will learn: how we generate electrons, how we use resonant microwaves to accelerate them to nearly the speed of light, and how these are converted to photons.