Medical Biophysics at Western

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Dr. Jerry Battista

Welcome to Canada's First Department of Medical Biophysics

Introduction to Medical Biophysics from the Chair, Jerry Battista PhD

Read More  .....



Recent Medical Biophysics News
Celebrating Our Faculty's and Graduate Students' Accomplishments

(last updated: May 6th, 2014)

See the MBP News Archives


Lawson Impact Awards
The Lawson Impact Awards were created in 2014 to recognize the consistently high calibre of research conducted throughout the Lawson Health Research Instutute.

Dr. Frank Prato, Lawson Scientist and Medical Biophysics Professor, is the inaugural recipient of the Scientist Career Award and Dr. Ting-Yim Lee, Lawson Scientist and Medical Biophysics Professor, is the inaugural recipient of the Innovation Award.

To view the YouTube video of Dr. Prato discussing his prolific body of research at Lawson since 1982, click HERE.

To view the YouTube video of Dr. Lee describing his research group's development of CT Perfusion, click HERE.


Proctecting The Heart While Treating Cancer
At the London Regional Cancer Centre, Omar El-Sherif, Medical Biophysics PhD candidate, and his supervisor, Dr. Stewart Gaede, have developed a technique to protect the heart while treating breast cancer.

See the CTV video.


Nevin McVicar and Rob Bartha

Solving the Mysteries of the Brain. Medical Biophysics Associate Professor, Robert Bartha, PhD, (right) and his doctoral student, Nevin McVicar, (left), are using a novel MRI technique to show the exact pH in specific areas of the brain. This opens up a whole new way of measuring disease progression and guiding treatment specifically for things like stroke and brain cancer. Read More ....


Dr. Jerry Battista

Jerry Battista - Recipient of the 2014 Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching. Established in 1980-81, the Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching was named in honor of Edward Gustav Pleva, Western’s first Geography teacher in 1938 and head of the department from 1948-68.

During his decades of experience, Jerry Battista has lived a teaching philosophy emphasizing impact in students’ lives. Each course begins in “a comfort zone” before he delves into more challenging material. His goal is to create a nonthreatening learning environment for students.

He has been called an innovator. Battista helped develop DeskCAT, a device that brings the concepts of CT scanners to the classroom. These devices have been hailed as “highly beneficial” to students just starting out in the classroom. He has also transitioned an in-class course into an online course, a conversion colleagues hailed as “superb.”

Medical Physics

Prior to publication in Medical Physics, Medical Biophysics, PhD student, Sarah Mattonen, (whose supervisors are Aaron Ward and David Palma) presented her paper Early Prediction of Tumor Recurrence Based on CT Texture Changes After SABR for Lung Cancer as a podium presentation at the SPIE Medical Imaging Conference in San Diego this past February. Click on the Medical Physics Logo to read Sarah's publication in its entirety which was an Editor's Pick.

Congratulations to Dr. Grace Parraga on receiving the 2013 Editor’s Recognition Award with Special Distinction.  Dr. Herbert Kressel, Editor of RSNA's Radiology, notes that Dr. Parraga is being recognized for her, "outstanding efforts as a reviewer for RADIOLOGY. This recognition is given to the top 5% of journal reviewers."

The Department of Medical Biophysics congratulates Dr. Parraga on her accomplishments!

Jake Van Dyk
Jake Van Dyk

On May 16th, 2014, Jacob Van Dyk will receive a Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.), at convocation for the graduating medical class from Schulich Medicine and Dentistry.   

During his award-winning teaching career at Western, Jacob Van Dyk also served as head of physics and engineering at London Health Science Centre’s Regional Cancer Program. Van Dyk is professor emeritus in the Department of Medical Biophysics. And, most recently, he worked as a consultant at the International Atomic Energy Agency for which he continues to perform various international teaching assignments. His research focuses on the implementation of radiation technology in the clinical practice of cancer treatment. Van Dyk has played a leadership role in academic and professional organizations including the Canadian College of Physicists in Medicine, Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists, American Association of Physicists in Medicine and International Atomic Energy Agency.

COPD Research 
Click HERE to Watch Dr. Parraga, Sarah, and Gregory Discuss Their Assessment of the Aerobika on Western's You Tube Channel  
Sarah Svenningsen
Sarah Svenningsen
PhD Student
The graduate research of Medical Biophysics PhD student, Sarah Svenningsen, has made the cover of the journal, Thorax. Read More.

Thorax, the official journal of the British Thoracic Society (BTS), is one of the world's leading respiratory medicine journals publishing clinical and experimental research articles on respiratory medicine, paediatrics, immunology, pharmacology, pathology, and surgery. Thorax is one of the highest ISI ranked journals covering all aspects of pulmonary medicine. Each issue covers topics such as COPD, asthma, smoking, respiratory infection and lung cancer; and includes editorials, short papers, review series, case reports, images in thorax, and letters.

CPD Research at Schulich Medicine and Dentistry
Medical Biophysics graduate students, Khadija Sheikh and
Dante Capaldi (in lab coats) discuss their research with
their supervisor, Dr. Grace Parraga (standing behind Dante).
Using unique imaging techniques, Professor Grace Parraga, Medical Biophysics Associate Professor, and her team at Robarts Research Institute are able to detect the earliest stages of lung disease in patients who present as otherwise perfectly healthy. Her lab is the only place in Canada where imaging research is underway to evaluate early detection of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Read More ....

Martin Sheen and Dr. Geoff Pickering

With Dr. Geoffrey Pickering, Medical Biophysics faculty member, as his guide, actor and social activist, Martin Sheen, toured the cardiovascular imaging research laboratories at Western's Robarts Research Institute on November 18th. He was the guest of honour at the annual Leaders in Innovation Dinner held later the same day celebrating research excellence at the Robarts Research Institute.

Click on picture to view a video of the tour which will begin in a new window after advertisement. Video courtesy of London CTV News.


Dr. Ravi Menon

While it's been known for over a century that iron deposits in the brain play a role in the pathology of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), new imaging research from Western University helps to answer the question of whether these accumulations are a cause or consequence of the disease. The study led by Ravi Menon, PhD, of the Robarts Research Institute found iron deposits in deep gray matter, suggesting the accumulation occurs very early in the disease course. The researchers also found evidence casting further doubt on the controversial liberation therapy for MS.


Dr. Brandon Disher
Dr. Brandon Disher
First Graduate of the  

PhD Med Biop Clin MSc
CAMPEP Accredited Program

In 2007, Brandon Disher enrolled in the Medical Biophysics PhD program. In 2010, he was the first student offered admission to the PhD Med Biop Clin MSc CAMPEP accredited Program which prepares students for the role of medical physicists and he was the first graduate of the program at Western's Fall 2013 Convocation. Brandon is now a medical physics resident at the London Regional Cancer Centre and will write his certification examination after two years of hands-on post graduate training. 

Dr. David Jaffray

David Jaffray, Medical Biophysics PhD graduate 1994

Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry Alumni of Distinction Award Winner

Identified as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, and a recipient of Western’s Young Alumni Award in 2004, it can be said Dr. Jaffray has accomplished much in a short period of time. The Head of Radiation Physics at Princess Margaret Hospital and a Senior Scientist within the Ontario Cancer Institute, Dr. Jaffray’s research in image-guided radiation therapy focuses on the development of novel imaging systems and concepts to improve the precision of therapy and translating these advances to clinical practice. Along with being professor in Departments of Radiation Oncology, Medical Biophysics and Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto, Dr. Jaffray’s interest in commercialization has led to the development of a variety of commercial products including software and hardware.


Damien Pike - PhD student
Damien Pike - PhD student 

Medical Biophysics PhD student, Damien Pike, received an international research prize from the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Read More .....

Dr. Alex Legros
Dr. Alexandre Legros

Dr. Alexandre Legros, Medical Biophysics Assistant Professor and graduate supervisor, shows EMFs (electromagnetic fields) can alter brain activity and physical responses, opening the possibility of therapy for disorders such as Parkinson’s.

Read More .....

View CTV News presentation of Dr. Legros's research. (Video will begin in new window after advertisement)


Dr. Summit Agrawal

Dr. Summit Agrawal, Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology (Head and Neck Surgery), and Medical Biophysics graduate supervisor,

led a team of surgeons who placed the first Bonebridge bone conduction implant in hearing impaired patient, Kelly Dickson.

View CTV News Presentation about the implant.


Michael Jensen, Medical Biophysics PhD student

Meet Medical Biophysics PhD student, Michael Jensen, a member of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Research Information Outreach Team (RIOT).

Invited doctoral students from Western, such as Michael, are part of the RIOT volunteers who offer to educate the London community about the significant advances made in cancer research from the laboratory bench to the hospital bedside. Read More  ……  

Click on Michael’s image to view his YOU TUBE VIDEO which describes the current clinical technologies to treat cancer offered at the London Regional Cancer Program.


Timothy Yeung

Meet Medical Biophysics PhD student, Timothy Yeung, another member of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Research Information Outreach Team (RIOT).

In his YOU TUBE VIDEO, Timothy describes his doctoral research which uses different imaging technologies to track tumour metabolism and blood flow as well as the changes in tumours after drug therapies.


M. Kirby
Miranda Kirby

One of the Medical Biophysics graduate program's most accomplished and prolific doctoral students, Miranda Kirby, has accepted a postdoctoral position at Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia.

Read More .....


Dr. Frank Prato
Dr. Frank Prato
The Department of Medical Biophysics is pleased to announce that faculty member, Dr. Frank Prato, who is the Imaging Program Leader and Assistant Scientific Director at Lawson Health Research institute, and Chief Medical Physicist at St. Joseph's Hospital has been awarded the prestigious D'Arsonval Award for 2013 from the Bioelectromagnetics Society (BEMS).  

The D'Arsonval Award recognizes outstanding achievement in research in bioelectromagnetics.  The award consists of a silver medallion, a silver lapel pin, an illuminated testimonial and a US$2,000 honorarium, which are presented at the BEMS Annual Meeting.  The award shall be given from time to time at the discretion of the Board of Directors, but no more than one award shall be given in any one year.

The sole requirement for this award is extraordinary accomplishment within the discipline of bioelectromagnetics, which can consist of exceptional scientific accomplishments or practical application of electromagnetic fields for human benefit.  

Read Dr. Prato's responses to the scientific version of the Proust Questionnaire given by the St. Joseph's Health Care Hospital's newspaper.

Jerry Battista - Physics Meets Music

Visionary, mentor, researcher and teacher, Jerry Battista, PhD, Chair, Medical Biophysics, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry wears many hats throughout the day. Read More .....


Rob Bartha - Alzheimer's Progress Report
Dr. Rob Bartha

Shedding Light on the Alzheimer’s Brain

Robarts Scientist and Medical Biophysics Faculty Member, Robert Bartha, believes Imaging is key to early detection and prevention. Read More .....

Dr. Aaron Fenster
Catching the Spirit - The Smarter Prostate Imaging and Interventions Program

For Aaron Fenster, PhD, Imaging Director, Robarts Research Institute, and Medical Biophysics Professor, the goal is always the same, improving medical outcomes for people. Read More .....
Tumbling RBCs
Could Feeding Cancer Stop It From Spreading?

Dr. Geoffrey Pickering, Medical Biophysics Faculty Member, is turning cancer research on its head by proposing that increasing the blood supply to a tumour (in effect, feeding the tumour) could actually prevent cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. Read More .....
Dr. Paula Foster

Through the use of powerful imaging techniques developed in her lab, Medical Biophysics Faculty Member, Paula Foster, hopes to determine how cancer cells change the tissue environment to which they migrate, before they arrive. Read More .....



Susan Huang MD

Medical Biophysics PhD candidate, Susan Huang MD, is one of five Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry students who are recipients of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Canada’s most prestigious scholarship for doctoral students. Read More  .....

The Medical Biophysics graduate program is very proud of our three Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship recipients over the past three years. Dr. Lindsay Mathew was a Vanier Scholar during 2010, Matthew Quinn (MD/PhD candidate) is a current Vanier Scholar, and now Dr. Susan Huang joins their exclusive ranks.


Desktop CT
Dr. Battista with the DeskCAT

One Cool CAT:
Dr. Jerry Battista and his research colleagues broaden undergraduate teaching opportunities with the DeskCAT. Read More ....



Important News for 2014 Graduate Applicants

In Your Statement of Intent, 
please indicate in which area(s) of graduate research you are interested & why your academic and research background has attributes relevant to your intention to pursue a graduate degree in Medical Biophysics.

If you are a domestic applicant - START HERE - to submit your application.

If you are applying to the PhD Med Biop Clin MSc CAMPEP Accredited stream of the Medical Biophysics graduate program - START HERE

If you are an international applicant - START HERE - to submit your application.

MUST READ: Graduate Chair's Notes for All MBP Students

The Top 10 Things A MBP Graduate Student Needs To Know (presented by Baraa Al-Khazraji, senior PhD student)

Above presentations best viewed using Google Chrome

Western's Learning Skills Services for Graduate Students offers excellent advice and counselling about balancing the challenges of conducting research, writing your dissertation, and maintaining a personal life. An effective example of their services is tips on time management

View the Slide Show from the 2013 A. C. Burton Lecture

Best viewed using Google Chrome

In Memory of Dr. Alan C. Groom, Professor Emeritius, the Alan C. Groom Memorial Fund Has Been Established. See Presentation  ...
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Founder, Medical Biophysics, UWO, and
Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Inductee


View UWO Libraries video seminars presented by globally recognized scientists covering all biomedical topics


Also of interest:

Department of Medical Biophysics - Learning through Research