Medical Physics

Flow measurements by the Poepping Lab group showing regions of elevated wall shear stress in carotid arteries.


Medical physics can be broadly defined as the application of physical methods, concepts, and technology to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of human disease. Basic science has always played an important role in the medical sciences. For instance, the technique of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was invented in a physics laboratory, and radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer requires careful calculation and planning of radiation doses. Physical techniques have also led to important insights at the scale of the single cell, improving our understanding of cellular mechanics and interactions.

Western has a long tradition of cutting-edge medical research. The proximity of the University Hospital, the Robarts Research Institute, the Lawson Health Science Centre, and the London Regional Cancer Centre makes the Department of Physics & Astronomy a natural place to conduct research in medical physics and biophysics.

Biomaterials research is concerned with biological materials and biocompatible materials (synthetic or natural materials used to replace or interface with biological materials).

Recent, current, and potential projects:

  • development of field-cycled MRI high strength gradient system design, construction, and implementation
  • human peripheral nerve stimulation in MRI gradient systems
  • electromagnetic field modeling and measurement in biological systems
  • PET (positron emission tomography) and SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography)
  • measurement of the elastic properties of cells by atomic force microscopy
  • development of numerical methods for optimizing radiotherapy for cancer treatment
  • numerical models of photosynthesis
  • high-resolution studies of biomineralization using the atomic force microscope
  • ultrasound imaging & modelling
  • hemodynamic (blood flow) studies and simulations
  • radiation dosimetry and modelling
  • radiation therapy and imaging for cancer
  • computational modelling of cell and tissue mechanics
  • modelling viruses

Research Faculty

Related Research web sites