Course Descriptions

Required and elective courses offered by the Committee on Medical Physics

Course Number Course Description
Practicum in the Physics of Medical Imaging I
This laboratory course is designed for students to enhance their understanding of materials covered in Medical Imaging (MPHY 38600) and to acquire hands-on experience on related subjects. These subjects include diagnostic X-ray sources and imaging systems, MRI, and the applications of computer-aided diagnosis.
MPHY 34300 (required) Practicum in the Physics of Medical Imaging II
This laboratory course is designed to familiarize the medical physics student with certain equipment and procedures in diagnostic radiology, with emphasis on nuclear medicine (both PET and SPECT), ultrasonic, and x-ray (helical) computed tomographic (CT) imaging. The students will conduct routine quality control procedures and educational exercises. Data analysis will be conducted using clinical software and freeware that will process DICOM images.
MPHY 34400 (required) Practicum in the Physics of Radiation Therapy
This course combines lectures and intensive hands-on experiments. It includes an introduction to thermoluminescent detectors, film and ionization chamber dosimetry, and quality assurance for intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). Training in data acquisition, error analysis, experimental techniques, and the safe handling of sealed radiation sources is also included. The basic concepts in Monte Carlo calculations will be presented and measurements made in simple slab phantoms to compare with MC calculations.
MPHY 34900 (required) Mathematics for Medical Physics
This course focuses on the mathematics that will be used throughout the training of medical physics students. Lectures are given on linear algebra, Fourier analysis, sampling theory, functions of random variables, stochastic processes, estimation theory, signal detection theory, and ROC analysis.
MPHY 35000 (required) Interactions of Ionizing Radiation with Matter
Ionizing radiation is the basis for radiation therapy and for many diagnostic imaging studies. This course explores the fundamental modes of interaction between ionizing radiation (both electromagnetic and particulate) and matter, with an emphasis on the physics of energy absorption in medical applications. Topics will include exponential attenuation, x-ray production, charged particle equilibrium, cavity theory, dosimetry, and ionization chambers.
MPHY 35100 (required) Physics of Radiation Therapy
This course covers aspects of radiation physics necessary for understanding modern radiation therapy. Rigorous theoretical foundations of physical dose calculation for megavoltage energy photons and electrons, biological predictions of therapy outcomes, and brachytherapy are presented. Methods of modeling and implementing radiation therapy treatment planning, evaluation, and delivery are described. Emphasis is placed on current developments in the field including intensity-modulated radiation therapy. The course is intended to provide comprehensive knowledge of radiation therapy physics enabling the student to grasp current research in the field.
MPHY 35601 (required) Anatomical Structure and Physiological Function of the Human Body
Study of the basic anatomy of the human body as demonstrated by cadavers and correlating diagnostic radiographic imaging. Physiological processes of body systems will be examined with an emphasis on its relationship with imaging.
MPHY 35900 (required) Cancer and Radiation Biology
This course provides students with an overview of the biology of cancer and of the current methods used to diagnose and treat the disease. Lectures from faculty throughout the Biological Sciences Division will include presentations on cancer incidence and mortality, cancer prevention, a molecular biology perspective, the role of genetic markers, methods of treatment (radiation, chemotherapy), and prognosis. The course will be primarily for medical physics graduate students.
MPHY 38600 (required) Physics of Medical Imaging I
This is an introductory course to the basic elements of X-ray imaging, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) imaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and spectroscopy (MRS). Topics covered on X-ray imaging include X-ray spectra, image formation, analog and digital detectors, physical measures of image quality, fluoroscopy, digital subtraction angiography, dual-energy imaging, and image restoration. Topics covered in magnetic resonance imaging include nuclear magnetic resonance, relaxation times, pulse sequences, functional imaging, and spectroscopy.
MPHY 38700 (required) Physics of Medical Imaging II
This course covers physics, mathematics, and statistics in nuclear medicine, x-ray computed tomography, ultrasound imaging, and optical imaging. Specific topics include Radioactive Isotopes and Tracer Methodology; Physics, Instrumentation, and Performance Properties of Gamma Camera; Quality Control in Nuclear Medicine; SPECT imaging; Physics, Instrumentation, and Performance Properties of PET Imaging; Biokinetics and Compartmental Analysis; Physics, Reconstruction, Proformance Properties for CT imaging and tomosynthesis; Principle and Instrumentation of Ultrasound Imaging; and Introduction to Optical Imaging.
MPHY 39200 Diagnostic Clinical Physics
This course provides the students with an understanding of the physical principles and theories involved in diagnostic imaging modalities. It will acquaint the student with the daily work of a clinical medical physicist in a Radiology department. This course will introduce concepts of quality control and will enable students to perform quality control scans on different imaging modalities.
MPHY 39600 Image Processing and Computer Vision
Introduction to the fundamental concepts and techniques widely used for processing and understanding digital images. The course will consist of a series of lectures and with "student projects to provide hands-on experience in various image processing techniques. Topics include digital image properties, data structures for image analysis, image filtering (smoothing, edge detection, noise reduction), segmentation (region growing, mathematical morphology), feature extraction (histogram analysis, shape description), texture analysis (co-occurrence matrices, texture energy measures, fractals), pattern recognition (discriminant analysis, statistical pattern recognition, neural networks), and linear transforms (Fourier, discrete cosine, Hough, and wavelet transforms).
MPHY 39700 Health Physics
This course provides an introduction to fundamental principles of health physics and radiation protection in medical physics environments. A broad spectrum of topics is covered, including but not limited to, radiation detection and measurement, instrumentation, counting statistics, radiation protection criteria, exposure limits and regulations, shielding techniques, monitoring of personnel dose, and radiation safety.
MPHY 39900 Reading and Research
This reading course is aimed at working through critical chapters of the text Foundations of Image Science by Harrison Barrett and Kyle Myers. It aims at building on concepts and material from the "Mathematics for Medical Physicists" course toward a deeper understanding of the objective assessment of image quality. We will focus on Chapters 1 (Vectors and Operators), 7 (Deterministic Descriptions of Imaging Systems), 8 (Stochastic Descriptions of Objects and Images), 13 (Statistical Decision Theory), 14 (Image Quality), and 15 (Inverse Problems). Student participation is an essential component of this course. Students will take turns presenting and discussing the material under the guidance of the instructor(s). There will also be computer exercises aimed at sharpening understanding of the material.
MPHY 41700 Research in Medical Physics
Research topics span various areas of medical physics and can include those from diagnostic imaging to radiation therapy treatment methods, as well as cross-disciplinary projects.
MPHY 41800 Research in Advanced Tomographic Imaging
Possible research topics include the investigation, development, and evaluation of algorithms for advanced tomographic imaging, with emphases on the fundamental physics, mathematics, and statistics areas of advanced tomographic imaging. Possible tomographic imaging techniques will be covered including cone-beam computed tomography (CT), tomosynthesis, phase-contrast CT, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electron paramagnetic resonance imaging (EPRI), positron emission tomography (PET), single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and emerging tomographic imaging techniques.
MPHY 42000 Research in the Physics of Nuclear Medicine
Possible research topics cover the fundamental physical aspects of nuclear medicine, including radiation detection and spectrum analysis; image formation, processing, and display; criteria for image evaluation; and quantitative in vivo assay using methods of gamma-ray and positron tomography, stimulated x-ray fluorescence, and activation analysis.
MPHY 42100 Research in the Physics of Diagnostic Radiology
Possible research topics include the development of methods to improve diagnostic accuracy and/or to reduce patient radiation exposure; quantitative image analysis and computer-aided diagnosis; methods of tomographic reconstruction, analysis, and evaluation of imaging system components; and joint physical/clinical studies of new techniques in diagnostic medical physics.
MPHY 42200 Research in the Physics of Radiation Therapy
Possible research topics include the development of methods to improve diagnostic accuracy and/or to reduce patient radiation exposure; quantitative image analysis and computer-aided diagnosis, methods of tomographic reconstruction, analysis, and evaluation of imaging system components; and joint physical/clinical studies of new techniques in diagnostic Medical Physics.
MPHY 42400 Research in Image-Guided Radiation Therapy
Possible research topics include fundamental aspects of image guidance in radiation therapy planning and delivery, management of inter- and intra-treatment patient motion, use of respiratory correlated CT, cone beam CT, kV/MV real-time imaging, and dynamic patient modeling for treatment planning.