Medical Physics Program

 

Director’s Greeting

Welcome to the Medical Physics Graduate Track at Stony Brook University. We appreciate your taking time to consider our Medical Physics Program.

The Medical Physics Graduate Track resides in the Biomedical Engineering Department and offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. The track is accredited by the commission for the accreditation of Medical Physics educational programs  (CAMPEP). The Stony Brook Medical Physics track is interdisciplinary with faculty from: radiology, radiation oncology, biomedical engineering, and Brookhaven National Laboratory. We offer sub-tracks in Imaging Physics and Oncology Physics. We also have CAMPEP accredited Imaging Physics and Oncology Physics residencies associated with our Program. Our faculty is involved in Medical Physics research and clinical service. Faculty expertise include magnetic resonance imaging, image processing, virtual imaging, positron emission tomography, detector physics for imaging, microplanar beam radiation therapy, intensity modulated radiation therapy,  and dosimetry.

We offer a number of opportunities for research training, including doctoral studies and a thesis option for MS students. Please contact us with any questions you may have. We look forward to receiving your application for Medical Physics Graduate study at Stony Brook.

Terry Button, Ph.D.
Director

 

What is a Medical Physicist?

Medical physicists apply physics to medicine and are concerned with three areas of activity: clinical service and consultation, research and development, and teaching. While several clinical, research and teaching directions are possible, Oncology Physics and Imaging Physics are most important.

 

How is Stony Brook unique?

Stony Brook University (SBU) is a public university and a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. The university status was established in 1960 and in1962, the campus was moved to its present location in Stony Brook. SUNY-SB is classified as a Type I research university by the Carnegie Foundation, a designation that reflects the university's volume of federally sponsored research, high percentage of doctoral students and emphasis on scholarship. Particularly strong programs are found in Chemistry, Physics and the Neurosciences. Currently there are 19,000 students involved in over 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The School of Medicine was established in 1977 and the University Hospital opened in 1980. At present, the hospital cares for and treats more than 148,000 ambulatory patients and 21,000 inpatients annually. The Emergency Room receives 40,000 visits annually and has recently been renovated to more than double its original floor space. The Department of Radiology is a fully digital environment with a full picture archive communications system (PACS). The Department conducts approximately 300,000 examinations each year . The Department of Radiation Oncology is a modern state of the art facility which is able to provide a full range of External Beam and brachytherapy (HDR and LDR) treatment. Active programs include 3DCRT, IMRT, respiratory gating treatment, IGRT, RapidArc, SRS/SRT and SBRT.

Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is a Department of Energy national laboratory on a 5000 acre site managed by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited liability company founded by Stony Brook University and Battelle, a nonprofit applied science and technology organization. BNL houses unique tools including the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) and Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) that have been available to support research activities associated with the Medical Physics Program. There are also a variety of technical services available at BNL such as instrumentation, glassblowing, electronics, graphic arts, photography, heavy machine trade shops, and central computing.

Many important landmarks in Radiological Medical claim Stony Brook University (SBU) or Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL ) as their birthplace. Important breakthroughs have included the invention by Lauterbur of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the Chemistry Department at SBU and the development of the technetium (Tc-99m) generator, Tl-201 and F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) at BNL to name a few. Potentially important innovations in Medical Imaging and the application of radiation for therapeutic benefit are now under investigation at these institutions including virtual diagnostic visualization at SBU and imaging research related to drug abuse at BNL.

The Medical Physics Track at SBU was formed in the Biomedical Engineering Department (BME) in 2002. The Track was devised to integrate research, education and collaboration between BNL and SBU scientists. The overall goal of this Track is to nurture challenging research for graduate students from the Biomedical Engineering Department of SBU by providing a learning environment and expanding the research opportunities to include the advanced facilities and expertise of scientists at University Hospital and BNL.

 

Program News

2009

2010

 

Graduate Programs Statistics

Graduateprograms:

2010

2011

2012

number of MS applicants

6

12

16

number of PhD applicants

8

11

51

number of MS students offered admission

2

3

3

number of PhD students offered admission

1

1

5

number of MS students matriculating

2

3

1

number of PhD students matriculating

0

0

1

number of MS students graduating

1

1

4

number of PhD students graduating

1

1

0

number in residencies

1

1

0

number in industry

0

0

0

number in clinical positions

0

0

0

number in academic positions

0

0

0

number entered another degree program

0

0

2

number entered post doc

1

0

0

number in other activities

0

0

1

number entered into Board Certification process

1

1

2

Imaging Physics Residency Statistics

Residency programs:

2010

2011

2012

number of applicants

8

0

12

number of residents accepted

1

0

1

number of residents graduating

1

0

0

number of residents certified

1

1

0

number in industry

0

0

0

number in clinical positions

1

1

0

number in academic positions

0

0

0

number in other activities

0

0

0

Oncology Physics Residency Statistics

Residency programs:

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

number of applicants

6

12

18

20

23

25

0

24

number of residents accepted

1

1

1

1

1

1

0

1

number of residents graduating

1

1

1

1

0

0

0

1

number of residents certified

1

1

1

1

1

0

1

0

number in industry

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

number in clinical positions

1

1

1

1

1

0

0

1

number in academic positions

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

number in other activities

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Deadline and Application Procedures

Application to the Medical Physics Track is made through the graduate Biomedical Engineering Department. Students specifically applying for the Medical Physics Track will be reviewed for acceptance to Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics. Matriculate students already accepted into Biomedical Engineering but not Medical Physics may apply to the track prior to January 1 each year. The application includes all previous Biomedical Engineering application information, copies of current graduate transcripts and a letter of support from a Medical Physics faculty member. A general condition of completion of BME 517 with a grade of A- or higher and the completion of the equivalent of a minor in physics is also required. Students may be accepted with some deficiencies. Classes taken to overcome deficiencies will be in addition to the standard Medical Physics curriculum.

 

 

Academics: Financial Aid

Fellowship stipends and tuition waivers are available for select students. Distribution of these awards is based on GRE test scores, undergraduate performance, professional experience, and research/career objectives as outlined in a personal statement.

Courses

 

The Core Courses that all new graduate students in BME must take are: BME 501 – Engineering Principles in Cell Biology, BME 502 – Advanced Numerical & Computation Analysis Applied to Biological Systems, BME 505 – Principles and Practice of BME, BME 520 – Laboratory Rotation I and BME 521 – Laboratory Rotation II. Medical Physics Track students will also take BME 517 – Radiation Physics, BME 518 – Radiobiology, BME 519 – Medical Health Physics, BME 530 – Medical Image Formation and either BME 540 – Radiation Oncology Physics or BME 610 – Magnetic Resonance. In addition, a course in anatomy is required. An excellent undergraduate course that could serve this requirement is HAN 402 - Radiographic Anatomy and Pathology.

Each course in the Medical Physic track is described below:

BME 517 Radiation Physics

This graduate offering provides an initial physical background required for the study of the Medical Physics. Sources of ionizing radiation including radioactivity (natural and manmade) and x-ray producing devices are studied as well as sources of non-ionizing radiations such as radiofrequency and ultrasound. The physical aspects of these radiations are characterized by their interaction with matter and methods for their detection.

BME 518 Radiobiology

The biological consequences of irradiation (ionizing, ultrasound, laser, RF etc.) will be examined. Interaction mechanisms will first be examined followed by examination of the of the radiation impact at the molecular and cellular level. The use of radiation for therapeutic gain will be considered. As well, models will be developed for risk estimates. Topics to be covered will include: target theory, biological response, NSD and risk estimates.

BME 519 Medical Health Physics

This graduate offering will include the health physics and safety issues associated with Radiological devices, facilities and procedures. Instrument safety including design criteria, methods of evaluation, regulatory requirements and standards will be examined. Methods for facility design/shielding (radiation, magnetic etc.); survey methods and regulatory requirements will also be key aspects of this course.

BME 530 Medical Image Formation

This graduate offering covers the physical aspect of medical image formation. Image receptor design/optimization, reconstruction techniques, device hardware and performance characteristics are considered. Imaging devices covered in this offering include: radiography, fluoroscopy, cinefluorography, digital imaging, computed tomography, ultrasonography, scintigraphy, single photon emission computed tomography, positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.

BME 540 Radiation Oncology Medical Physics

This graduate offering provides a background in therapeutic instrumentation, dosimetry and treatment planning. Clinical radiation generators are examined including kilovoltage units, Van de Graafs, Linacs, beatatron, microtron, cyclotron and radionuclide based units. Means for dose measurement using ionization chambers, solid state detectors (TLD), calorimetry, film and chemical dosimetry are studied as well as dosimetric calculation methods employing depth doses, tissue air rations, tissue maximum rations, irregular field techniques and methods for inhomogeneity corrections. Finally, 2D and 3D computer treatment planning techniques are studied.

BME 599 Biomedical Engineering Research

Research to be supervised by a faculty member of the Program in Biomedical Engineering. Students must have permission of instructor and enroll in appropriate section. Faculty to be identified by the student. BME 610 Magnetic Resonance This course provides a comprehensive study of magnetic resonance and its applications in medical imaging. An introduction of NMR is followed with development of the hardware and processing aspects required for MR image formation. An overview of basic and advanced MR imaging techniques is provided. Each student will select a topic in MR imaging for presentation at the conclusion of the course.

BME 611 Positron Emission Tomography

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a unique and powerful molecular imaging method used in the clinic and in medical research.  It is a multidisciplinary endeavor involving the fields of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and medicine. This course addresses the disparate areas of science underlying PET imaging, including radioisotope production, radiotracer synthesis, the physics of the imaging process, quantitative data processing, image reconstruction approaches, data analysis, and tracer kinetic modeling to extract quantitative physiological parameters.  Radiotracer validation and applications of PET will also be covered including the area of drug addiction.  There is a hands-on component in which students will visit an active PET research center and acquire and manipulate PET data.

Course Sequence

 

A side-by-side comparison of a typical 2-year BME course sequence compared with the Medical Physics Track is shown in the table below. Both would lead to a MS degree in BME with a thesis option. Alternatively, course work (clinical medical physics laboratories) may be substituted for the Thesis credits. Completion of the Medical Physics Track and additional requirements discussed above would lead to an MS in BME plus a certificate attesting that the graduate completed a CAMPEP approved program. By virtue of this degree and certificate, graduates would be able to attend a CAMPEP accredited residency program and eventually sit for the national board examination.

Semester

Existing BME

Credits

BME MP Track

Credits

Fall I

BME 501 Eng. Prin. Cell Biology

3

BME 501 Eng. Prin. Cell Biology

3

 

BME 505 Prin. & Prac. of BME I

2

BME 505 Prin. & Prac. of BME

2

 

BME 520 Research Rot.I

1

BME 520 Research Rot.I

1

 

Elective 1

3

Elective 1

3

 

Elective 2

3

BME 517 Radiation Physics

3

 

 

 

 

 

Spring I

BME 502 Eng. Prin. Tissue/Organ

3

BME 518 Radiobiology

3

 

BME 504 Biomaterials

3

BME 530 Med. Image Formation

3

 

BME 502 Num/Comp Analysis

3

BME 502 Num/Comp Analysis

3

 

BME 521 Research Rot. II

1

BME 521 Research Rot. II

1

 

BME 506 Prin. & Prac. of BME II

2

Elective 2

2

 

 

 

 

 

Fall II

BME 503 Eng. Prin. Med. Diag.

3

BME 503 Eng. Prin. Med. Diag.

3

 

BME 599 BME Master's Research

3

BME 519 Med. Health Physics

3

 

Elective

3

BME 599 Master's Research

3

 

 

 

 

 

Spring II

Elective

3

BME 540 Rad. Oncology Physics

or BME610 Magnetic Resonance

or BME 610 Postitron Emission Tomography

3

 

BME 599 Master's Research

6

BME 599 Master's Research

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Credits

42

 

42

Faculty

 

Research Faculty

Name

Academic Rank

Affiliation/Department

Terry Button , PhD

Associate Professor

SBU Radiology/BME/HS

Avraham Dilmanian PhD

Associate Professor

SBU Radiation Onc./BNL Medical Dept/BME

 

 

 

Jerome Liang, PhD

Professor

SBU Radiology/Computer Sciences/BME

Gene R. Gindi, PhD

Associate Professor

SBU Radiology and Electrical Engin./BME

David J. Schlyer, PhD

Professor

BNL Chemistry/BME

Paul Vaska, PhD

Associate Professor

BNL Chemistry/BME

Wei Zhao, PhD

Professor

SBU Radiology/BME

 

 

 

Clinical Faculty

Name

Academic Rank

Affiliation/Department

Michael Bonvento, MS

Assistant Clinical Professor

SBU Radiology

Jameson Baker, PhD

Assistant Clinical Professor

SBU Radiation Oncology

Thomas Fernandez, MS

Instructor

SBU Radiology

Nand Relan, PhD

Assistant Clinical Professor

SBU Radiology

Zhigang (Josh) Xu, PhD

Associate Professor

SBU Radiation Oncology

An Ting Hsia, MS

Instructor

SBU Radiation Oncology

Careers

The Medical Physics Track was started in 2002. Of thirteen MS graduates eleven are either practicing Medical Physics or still training in clinical Medical Physics. Of the eight doctoral graduates, four are practicing or still training in clinical Medical Physics. The four doctoral graduates not focused on clinical careers include two working in industry in positions that require a Medical Physics background and two in academia that likewise make full use of their Medical Physics skills gained here at Stony Brook! In summary 71.4% of our graduates are engaged in clinical Medical Physics and 90.5% are employed in positions that require Medical Physics training.

The Graduates trained in Medical Physics enjoy a wide variety of employment opportunities. For more general information, we recommend the AIP Career Network Website or the AAPM Career Service.

Contact Us

General application questions should be addressed to the Biomedical Engineering Department. Specific questions regarding Medical Physics should be addressed to:

Terry M. Button Ph.D.
631-444-3841
Terry.Button@sunysb.edu

 

Residency Programs

 

The graduate Medical Physics Track is affiliated with the Stony Brook University CAMPEP accredited Medical Physics residency Programs in Oncology Physics and Imaging Physics:

Oncology Physics

Stony Brook University Medical Center
(Initial Accreditation: 2009)
Radiation Oncology Department
Stony Brook, NY 11794-7023
Radiation Oncology Physics Residency Program
Director, Zhigang (Josh) Xu, Ph.D. DABR
Associate Professor and Director of Physics
Tel: (631) 444-3617 / Fax: (631) 689-8801
zhigang.xu@stonybrook.edu
www.stonybrookmedicalcenter.org/radiationoncology

Imaging

Stony Brook University Medical Center
(Initial Accreditation: 2009)
Department of Radiology
Health Sciences Center L4/Rm 4-120
Stony Brook, NY 11794-8460
Tel: (631) 444-3841 / Fax: (631) 444-7538
Imaging Physics Residency Program
Contact: Terry M. Button, Ph.D.
Terry.Button@sunysb.edu