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Committee on Medical Physics

This is an archived copy of the 2012-13 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Maryellen L. Giger
Associate Chair:
Charles A. Pelizzari
Jia-Hong Gao, Radiology
Maryellen L. Giger, Radiology
David J. Grdina, Radiation and Cellular Oncology
Howard J. Halpern, Radiation and Cellular Oncology
Gregory S. Karczmar, Radiology
Xiaochuan Pan, Radiology
Associate Professors:
Samuel G. Armato, Radiology
Bulent Aydogan, Radiation and Cellular Oncology
Chin-Tu Chen, Radiology
Yulei Jiang, Radiology
Chien-Min Kao, Radiology
Patrick LaRiviere. Radiology
Zheng Feng Lu, Radiology
Robert M. Nishikawa, Radiology
Bill O’ Brien-Penney, Radiology
Charles A. Pelizzari, Radiation and Cellular Oncology
Chester S. Reft, Radiation and Cellular Oncology
Kamil M. Yenice, Radiation and Cellular Oncology
Assistant Professors:
Hania A. Al-Hallaq, Radiation and Cellular Oncology
Naim Ozturk, Radiation and Cellular Oncology
Brian B. Roman, Radiology
Steffen Sammet, Radiology
Kenji Suzuki, Radiology
Rodney D. Wiersma, Radiation and Cellular Oncology
Emeritus Professors: 
Kuno Doi, Radiology
David N. Levin, Radiology
The Medical Physics program at the University of Chicago is recognized internationally for its research excellence and is housed within the Committee on Medical Physics. Many of the investigators are leaders in their respective specialties. Also, because the departments are located in the Medical Center of the University, there is strong interaction between the clinical and research staff. Faculty with primary interest in diagnostic imaging hold appointments in the Department of Radiology, whereas faculty with primary interest in the physics of radiation therapy hold appointments in the Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology. The Committee on Medical Physics offers programs leading to S.M. and Ph.D. degrees in medical physics. Although most students are admitted directly for study toward the Ph.D. degree, the S.M. degree may occasionally be awarded as a terminal degree and in some cases as a transitional degree en route to the Ph.D. Two years of residency are required for the S.M. degree, during which students may elect specialized training directed toward either research or clinical support applications of physics in radiology or radiation oncology. Normally four or five years of residency are required for the Ph.D. degree.  
Medical Physics researchers at the University have available to them many state of the art machines:
·         1.5T MR scanners
·         3T MR scanner
·         1.5 T and 3.0 T scanners
·         9.4 T MRI/MRS system
·         Electron paramagnetic resonance imaging spectrometers
·         16-, 32-, and 64 slice helical CT scanners
·         Advanced 256- slice helical cone-beam scanner
·         Advanced 256-slice dual-energy helical cone-beam scanner
·         Dual energy chest radiography system
·         Full field digital mammography systems
·         PET/CT scanner
·         30% Sensitivity Dual Head Small-Animal PET Scanner
·         Computer controlled dual energy linear accelerators with multileaf collimators, dynamic treatment capability and solid state megavoltage imagers and kilovoltage 2D and cone beam imaging capabilities
·         Computer controlled high dose rate remote after loading brachytherapy system
·         Virtual reality display system
·         Computed radiography systems
·         High quality laser digitizers and printers
·         Multi-detector SPECT systems
·         Cardiac first pass gamma camera
·         Single detector gamma camera
·         Real time quantitative PCR machine
·         Zeiss Surgical Microscope
·         Harvard small animal ventilator
·         Micro-interventricular pressure and volume catheters
·         MRI compatible fiber optic pressure transducer
·         Physiological data acquisition and analysis system
·         Class II Cell Culture hood
·         Zeissfluorescence microscope with associated CCD camera and image acquisition and analysis computer system
·         Microplate reader
·         Sorvall RC-6 High speed ultracentrifuge
·         Bio-rad gel documentation and analysis workstation
·         Epson 10000XL flat bed color scanner to scan radiographic or radiochromic film
·         Harshaw automated thermoluminescent reader
·         Philips 250 kVp orthovoltage machine
·         Diagnostic and mammography x-ray systems
·         Dual-head SPECT systems
·         Triple-head SPECT scanner
·         Xenogen IVIS 200 for bioluminescence and fluroescence animal imaging
·         VisEn FMT for fluorescence moleculat tomography in animal imaging
·         Olympus OV-100 for fluorescence animal imaging
·         GMI/GE Triumph Flex miceoPET/SPECT/CT Pre-Clinical Imaging System
·         Vevo 770 ultrasound imaging ssystem for animal imaging
·         Super-Resolution Single-Photon Emission Microscope (SPEM)
·         High-resolution digital x-ray imaging system
·         Computer-aided detection system for mammography
·         High-resolution display monitors and workstations
·         General use and specialized image processing and display computers linked via a high speed network
Please visit our website for more information.
Inquiries concerning the graduate program should be addressed to Maryellen L. Giger, Ph.D., Chair of the Committee on Medical Physics, Director of the Graduate Programs in Medical Physics, Department of Radiology, MC 2026, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, or e mail: .

Medical Physics Courses

MPHY 32400. Practicum in the Physics of Medical Imaging I. 100 Units.

This laboratory course is designed for students to enhance the 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.

Instructor(s): Y. Jiang     Terms Offered: Winter

MPHY 34300. Practicum in the Physics of Medical Imaging II. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): B. O'Brien-Penney, Z.F. Lu     Terms Offered: Winter

MPHY 34400. Practicum in the Physics of Radiation Therapy. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): H. Al-Hallaq, C. Reft, B. Aydogan     Terms Offered: Spring

MPHY 34900. Mathematics for Medical Physics. 100 Units.

This course focuses on the mathematics that will be used throughout the training of students in the Graduate Programs in Medical Physics. Lectures are given on linear algebra, Fourier analysis, sampling theory, functions of random variables, stochastic processes, estimation theory, signal detection theory, and ROC analysis.

Instructor(s): M. Giger, X. Pan     Terms Offered: Autumn

MPHY 35000. Interactions of Ionizing Radiation with Matter. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): H. Al-Hallaq, S. Armato     Terms Offered: Winter

MPHY 35100. Physics of Radiation Therapy. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): N.Ozturk, R. Wiersma, K. Yenice     Terms Offered: Spring

MPHY 35601. Anatomical Structure and Physiological Function of the Human Body. 100 Units.

Study of the basic anatomy of the human body as demonstrated from cadavers and correlating diagnostic radiographic imaging. Physiological processes of body systems will be examined with an emphasis on its relationship with imaging.

Instructor(s): C. Straus, B. Roman     Terms Offered: Winter

MPHY 35900. Cancer and Radiation Biology. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): D. Grdina, J. Murley, R. Miller     Terms Offered: Spring

MPHY 38600. Physics of Medical Imaging I. 100 Units.

This is an introductory course to the basic elements of x-ray imaging, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) imaging, and 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 on magnetic resonance imaging include nuclear magnetic resonance, relaxation times, pulse sequences, functional imaging and spectroscopy.

Instructor(s): P. LaRiviere, B. Roman     Terms Offered: Summer

MPHY 38700. Physics of Medical Imaging II. 100 Units.

This course covers the 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.

Instructor(s): C.M. Kao, P. LaRiviere, B. O'Brien-Penney, E. Sidky     Terms Offered: Winter

MPHY 39200. Diagnostic Clinical Physics. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): B. O'Brien-Penney, Z.F. Lu, S. Sammet     Terms Offered: Spring

MPHY 39300. Physics in Clinical PET. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): B. O'Brien-Penney     Terms Offered: Autumn

MPHY 39600. Image Processing and Computer Vision. 100 Units.

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).

Instructor(s): S. Armato, K. Suzuki     Terms Offered: Winter

MPHY 39700. Health Physics. 100 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): B. Aydogan, N. Ozturk     Terms Offered: Spring

MPHY 39900. Reading and Research. 100 Units.

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 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 guidance of the instructor(s). There will also be computer exercises aimed at sharpening understanding of the material.

Instructor(s): P. LaRiviere, C.M. Kao     Terms Offered: Winter (every other year)

MPHY 41700. Research in Medical Physics. 100-300 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): M. Giger and Staff     Terms Offered: All Quarters

MPHY 41800. Research in Advanced Tomographic Imaging. 100-300 Units.

Possible research topics include 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 include 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.

Instructor(s): X. Pan and Staff     Terms Offered: All Quarters

MPHY 42000. Research in the Physics of Nuclear Medicine. 100-300 Units.

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.

Instructor(s): X. Pan and Staff     Terms Offered: All Quarters

MPHY 42100. Research in the Physics of Diagnostic Radiology. 100-300 Units.

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.

Terms Offered: All Quarters

MPHY 42200. Research Physics of Radiation Therapy. 100-300 Units.

Possible research topics can include radiation treatment planning; radiation dose calculations; intensity-modulated radiotherapy; image-guided radiotherapy; biological basis of radiation therapy; analysis of treatment outcomes; and others.

Instructor(s): C. Pelizzari and Staff     Terms Offered: All Quarters

MPHY 42400. Research in Image-Guided Radiation Therapy. 100-300 Units.

Possible research topics include fundamental aspects of image guidance in radiation therapy planning and delivery, management of inter-treatment 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.

Instructor(s): C. Pelizzari and Staff     Terms Offered: All Quarters