Sam Beddar, Ph.D.
Professor – Department of Radiation Physics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Chief of Clinical Research – Department of Radiation Physics
Adjunct Professor – Université Laval, Québec City, Canada
Adjunct Professor – University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Ph.D. – Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 1990
M.S. – Medical Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 1984
M.S. – Theoretical Physics, University of Constantine, Constantine, Algeria, 1981
B.S. – Physics, University of Constantine, Constantine, Algeria, 1980
Dr. Beddar was born in Constantine, Algeria, and went to the University of Wisconsin – Madison to study medical physics. He concentrated his research on plastic scintillation dosimetry, publishing several seminal papers on the subject, and receiving his doctorate in 1990.
He next joined Princess Margaret Hospital, now called Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, in Toronto, Canada, as a staff physicist. In 1993, he became an Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York, and following a position at Albany Medical College, he accepted a position in Cleveland, Ohio at the Cleveland Clinic in 1998, where he established an intraoperative radiation therapy program using the first commercially available Mobetron portable electron-beam linear accelerator machine.
In 2002, he became an Associate Professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, joining the Brachytherapy Service. In 2005, he became Chief of the Gastrointestinal Service, focusing his clinical attention on developing 4D CT with intravenous contrast for the liver, advancing respiratory-gated radiation therapy for gastrointestinal cancers, and leading the intraoperative radiation therapy program. Dr. Beddar was promoted to Professor, Tenured Clinical Faculty in 2012. In 2013, he was promoted to the position of Director of Clinical Research in the department of Radiation Physics at MD Anderson.
For more information, please visit Dr. Beddar’s MD Anderson profile.
Current Lab Members
Dennis Mackin, Ph.D.
Ph.D. – Physics and Astronomy, Rice University, Houston TX, 2010
B.S. – Mathematics, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, 1995
Since joining the laboratory of Dr. Beddar in 2011, Dr. Mackin has been investigating methods for in vivo-range verification of proton therapy treatments, with an emphasis on developing 3D-image reconstruction algorithms for multi-stage Compton gamma cameras. More recently, he has collaborated with members of the Dr. Beddar’s laboratory group to develop novel methods for reducing the effects of noise on image quality. His primary research interest is the application of high-performance computing and machine learning to problems in medical physics.
He is now working in clinical medical physics as a member of MD Anderson’s Central Nervous System Physics Group. This group primarily supports stereotactic radiosurgery treatments of the brain and spine. Dr. Mackin’s clinical research efforts focus on methods for making Leksell Gamma Knife radiosurgery more comfortable, conformal, and efficient.
Fahed Alsanea, Ph.D.
Resident, Medical Physics
Ph.D. – Medical Physics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
M.S. – Medical Physics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 2014
B.S. – Clinical Radiation Science, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, 2012
Before joining MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Alsanea obtained his M.S. degree at Purdue University where he conducted his thesis work applying thermoacoustics with pulsed protons to develop a 3D dosimeter for proton therapy. He joined Dr. Beddar’s lab in 2014 to obtain his Ph.D. His doctoral work in Dr. Beddar’s lab focused on correcting for ionization quenching in 3D-organic liquid scintillator for proton therapy dosimetry.
Dr. Alsanea is currently a Medical Physics resident in the department of Radiation Physics at MD Anderson. Dr. Alsanea’s research interests are in developing and characterizing novel detectors for radiation dosimetry, imaging, and real-time dosimetry.
Chinmay Darne, Ph.D.
Ph.D. – Electrical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX, 2008
M.S. – Electrical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX, 2004
B.E. – Electronics Engineering, Mumbai University, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, 2002
Dr. Darne’s research interest is in application of volumetric scintillators for proton therapy. He developed a volumetric scintillator-based 3D detector that can be used in near real-time for proton beam dosimetry, machine quality assurance studies, and beam commissioning.
Dr. Darne is currently using a 3D scintillator-based system for generating proton radiographs and proton CT images. The proton images can be used to reduce range uncertainties for proton treatment planning and enable image-guided proton therapy.
He was previously involved with the development of a near infrared fluorescence (NIRF)-based optical imaging system. He used a frequency-domain photon migration approach to NIRF imaging allowing him to precisely detect fluorescence signatures from targets embedded within a medium. He engineered the optical system to be integrated into the gantry of a commercial CT scanner in order to generate a trimodal (NIRF/CT/positron emission tomography [PET]) imager capable of 3D imaging of fluorescence-labeled tumors located in patients.
Rajesh Panthi, Ph.D.
Ph.D. – Physics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
M.S. – Medical Physics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
M.Sc. – Physics, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
Dr. Panthi earned his Ph.D. in Physics with a dissertation on the determination of the energy spectra of clinical x-ray beams using dose-depth datasets. He has plenty of experience with computational and experimental studies in Radiation Physics.
Dr. Panthi’s current research has primarily focused on the prompt-gamma imaging for online range verification for proton therapy and the range verification based on secondary radiation produced during proton therapy. He is also working on the proton radiography system design.
Haydee Maria Linares Rosales
Ph.D. – Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Optics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Université Laval, Québec City, QC, Canada
M.S. – Engineering of Energy and Nuclear Installations, University of Havana, Cuba, 2014
M.Sc.– Engineering in Nuclear and Energy Technologies, University of Havana, Cuba, 2012
From 2012 to 2015, Ms. Linares Rosales served as Lecturer at the University of Havana, Cuba. She has been involved in the field of Medical Physics since 2010. During her M.Sc. program, she developed expertise in Monte Carlo simulations and beam modelling of linear accelerators.
Under the supervision of Professor Luc Beaulieu and Dr. Beddar, she started her Ph.D. in 2015. Her Ph.D. project is related to the development of a multipoint scintillation detector (mPSD) for in vivo dosimetry measurements in brachytherapy. The mPSD system has undergone further characterization and optimization, and it is now part of an ongoing clinical trial at the Centre hospitalier universitaire (CHU) de Québec, Canada.
Alumni and Collaborators
Daniel Robertson, Ph.D., DABR
Assistant Professor – Department of Radiation Oncology, Mayo Clinic Arizona, Scottsdale, AZ
Associate Program Director – Medical Physics Residency, Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, Scottsdale, AZ
Fellowship Program Director – Medical Physics Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Scottsdale, AZ
Ph.D. – Medical Physics, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston, Houston, TX, 2014
B.S. – Applied Physics, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, 2008
Dr. Robertson is a proton therapy physicist at Mayo Clinic Arizona, specializing in proton therapy machine testing and measurement tools. His clinical focus includes machine quality assurance and patient respiratory motion management.
In addition to his clinical activities, Dr. Robertson pursues research in scintillation dosimetry, proton beam testing devices, proton radiography and CT, medical physics applications of computer vision, and medical physics education.
Dr. Robertson completed his doctoral work in Dr. Beddar’s lab, developing methods for correction of scintillation quenching in proton beams, optical artifact correction, and applications of 3D scintillator detectors for proton therapy quality assurance.
François Therriault-Proulx, Ph.D.
Co-Founder and CEO at Medscint Inc.
Postdoctoral Odyssey Fellow – Department of Radiation Physics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2013-2016
Ph.D. – Physics (Medical Physics), Université Laval, QC, Canada, 2012
M.Sc. – Neurobiology, Université Laval, QC, Canada, 2008
B.S. – Engineering Physics, Université Laval, QC, Canada, 2005
Since his graduate and post-graduate studies, Dr. Therriault-Proulx has been applying his engineering and medical physics background to the development of scintillation dosimetry devices for several years. His work as a Ph.D. and Odyssey Fellow led to the development of a patented multi-point plastic scintillation dosimetry device using only a single optical probe that has been proven to be valid for multiple fields of application in radiation oncology.
His current focus is on optimizing this patented technology for commercially viability to bring this technology to market. He co-founded the company Medscint Inc. (Quebec City, Canada) in 2018 and is the current president and CEO of the company.
Gustavo Kertzscher, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus, Denmark
Ph.D. – Physics, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark, 2014
M.Sc. – Physics, McGill University, QC, Canada, 2009
B.S. – Engineering Physics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, 2005
Since 2010, the aim of Dr. Kertzscher’s research has been to facilitate real-time treatment verification for patients undergoing brachytherapy, by means of radiation measurement technology that is accurate, and safe and practical for the clinical staff to operate. During his time at MD Anderson (2014-2017), Dr. Kertzscher and Dr. Beddar developed a new generation of scintillation detector systems based on miniature inorganic scintillation detectors (ISDs). The ISD system has undergone further characterization and optimization for hospital use at Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, where it is now incorporated for routine in vivo dosimetry during pulsed dose rate (PDR) and high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy. In vivo dosimetry in brachytherapy using the novel ISD system is further investigated within a consortium between Aarhus University Hospital, MD Anderson, and Université Laval, Canada.
Dr. Kertzscher is presently collaborating in the PRISM-eBT project in which his main task is to provide traceable measurements of the 3D-dose distribution near the 50 kV Papillon50 electronic brachytherapy source, using plastic scintillation detectors.
Landon Wootton, Ph.D., DABR
Assistant Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine, Department of Radiation Oncology
Ph.D. – Medical Physics, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston, TX, 2014
B.S. – Physics, University of Texas at Austin, TX, 2008
Dr. Wootton is currently an Acting Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle where he completed his residency. His role there includes a wide range of clinical and educational responsibilities, and his research largely focuses on modeling fast neutrons using the department’s clinical neutron therapy system (CNTS) and developing CNTS treatment planning tools.
While at MD Anderson his research focused on the development of plastic scintillation detectors for in vivo use to verify appropriate treatment delivery. He was awarded the American Legion Auxiliary Fellowship in Cancer Research for his work acquiring in vivo dosimetry for patients with prostate cancer treated with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).
Cheukkai Becket Hui, Ph.D.
Medical Physicist at Arizona Oncology
Ph.D. – Medical Physics, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston, TX, 2012
M.A. – Physics, University of Texas at Austin, TX, 2007
B.S. – Physics, Mathematics, University of Arizona, AZ, 2004
Dr. Hui is responsible for ensuring the safety of patients and the quality of the treatment machine and radiation materials. During his doctoral training, his research focused on developing pulse programs, acquisition protocols, and post-processing techniques for Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DCE-MRI). Recently, his research focus includes image registration, quality assurance of treatment plans, and data mining.
During his postdoctoral training in Dr. Beddar’s lab, he developed the prototype algorithm to reconstruct 3D dose distribution for a proton liquid scintillator system. In addition, he also developed methods to reconstruct 4D CT & MR images.
Jeppe Brage Christensen, Ph.D.
Deputy head of the Dosimetry Group, Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland
Ph.D. – Physics, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark, 2019
M.Sc. – Physics, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark, 2016
B.Sc. – Physics and Mathematics, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark, 2013
Dr. Christensen currently works with dosimetry, in particular, nuclear track detectors.
In his 6 months duration at MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2018-19, Dr. Christensen worked with ionization quenching of plastic scintillators during proton irradiation.
Thomas Henry, Ph.D.
Dr. Henry joined the Dr. Beddar’s lab as a research intern in 2014. During his time at MD Anderson Cancer Center, he worked on liquid scintillation dosimetry and explored solutions to account for the quenching issue with proton beams.
He then moved to Sweden to continue his proton research and defended his Ph.D. at Stockholm University in 2018. He is now employed at the Skandion Clinic proton center in Uppsala, Sweden where he has been working on several research projects including Monte Carlo simulations, beam modeling, cone beam CT (CBCT) optimization, dose reconstruction, 3D modeling, and more.
Collaborations with other Institutes
Luc Beaulieu, Ph.D.
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Optics
Faculty of Science and Engineering, Université Laval
Dr. Luc Beaulieu is a full professor, Director of the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Program (CAMPEP) graduate program and also Director of the Cancer Research Centre at Université Laval. He served on the Board of the Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists as President Elect, President and Past President (2010-2016). He is a member of the AAPM Brachytherapy Subcommittee as well as two associated Working Groups (Robotics and Clinical Applications), is the Chair of TG317 on tracking technology for brachytherapy, a member of the ESTRO In Vivo dosimetry working group, was the Chair of TG-186 and until recently led the AAPM/ESTRO/ABG Working Group on Model-Based Dose Calculations in Brachytherapy.
He has received research grants from all of the major Canadian funding agencies (e.g., Canadian Institutes of Health Research [CIHR], Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada [NSERC], National Cancer Institute Canada [NCIC], Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute [CCSRI]) as well as the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), specifically R01 and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. He has served on grants panels for most of these agencies and currently reviews grants on an ad hoc basis for programs in France and Belgium. For the past 15 years, Dr. Beaulieu has worked collaboratively with a number of industrial partners for the design, building, and validation of biomedical algorithms and devices. Since November 2015, he is the holder of an NSERC Industrial Research Chair related to biomedical technology for brachytherapy. He has mentored over 70 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and more than 80 undergraduate student research projects, published 226 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 495 refereed abstracts (all poster and oral presentations) at national and international meetings. He is a recognized expert on topics related to scintillation dosimetry and brachytherapy.
Joao Seco Ph.D., DABR
Division of Biomedical Physics in Radiation Oncology, Deutsches Krebsforschungzentrum (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
Prof. Dr. Seco graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of London, at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and Royal Marsden Hospital in London, UK. He then went on to become an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, working at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He then returned to Europe to work at the German Cancer Research Center, DKFZ in Heidelberg, heading up a new group dedicated to ion beam research and with the focus on: 1) novel imaging technologies to reduce Bragg peak positioning errors in patients; and 2) the mechanism of radiation- triggered DNA damage via reactive oxygen species. He is also presently the Chair of Medical Physics at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Heidelberg University and is a member of the European Federation of Organisations for Medical Physics (EFOMP) Scientific Committee, representing the Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Physik (DGMP) (i.e., German Society for Medical Physics).
Kari Tanderup, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Clinical Medicine – The Department of Oncology, Aarhus University Hospital in Aarhus, Denmark
Prof. Dr. Kari Tanderup’s main research interests include MRI-guided radiation therapy of cervical cancer, specifically, clinical studies, imaging, and in vivo dosimetry. About these topics, she has authored more than 130 papers and has supervised over 10 Ph.D. students.
Prof. Dr. Kari Tanderup is actively contributing to committee and task group work in The European SocieTy for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) and is the course director in the ESTRO school. She is chairing the GEC ESTRO gyn network, which represents the most active core European academic centers within gynecological brachytherapy, and embraces members from Central/Eastern Europe, India, Canada and the United States of America. Through past and ongoing activities, this group is internationally recognized as a leading group in gynecological image-guided brachytherapy. The group has published international guidelines, which are now used worldwide. The GEC ESTRO gyn group has also initiated the EMBRACE (External beam radiochemotherapy and MRI based adaptive BRAchytherapy in locally advanced CErvical cancer) studies. EMBRACE I is an international multicenter study on MRI-guided brachytherapy in cervical cancer. From 2008 to 2015, the EMBRACE I trial has recruited 1416 patients, and the results are currently generating a wealth of clinical evidence on outcomes as well as dose and effect relationships. In 2016, the EMBRACE II study was initiated, which is a prospective interventional study that will enroll 1500 patients over 5 years. EMBRACE II is benchmarking advanced external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) (e.g., intensity-modulated radiation therapy [IMRT] and image-guided adaptive brachytherapy [IGRT]) and brachytherapy (prescription protocol and advanced applicators).
Finally, Prof. Dr. Tanderup is interested in overall brachytherapy technologies. She coordinates international efforts to facilitate and promote in vivo dosimetry studies through network meetings, joint research activities, and collaboration with industry to support the availability of improved and advanced technologies for patients.
Jacob Graversen Johansen, Ph.D.
JACJOA@rm.dk / email@example.com
Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Dr. Johansen started his research career in experimental nuclear physics, but since 2016, he has worked with time-resolved dosimetry at Aarhus University Hospital. His main focus has been on clinical implementation of a scintillator-based dosimetry system developed by Dr. Beddar and Dr. Kertzscher at MD Anderson Cancer Center. This work is part of a collaboration between Aarhus University, Université Laval, and MD Anderson Cancer Center to perform a dosimetry-based multicenter study on the quality of brachytherapy.
Furthermore, Dr. Johansen explores the possibility of performing in vivo dosimetry with scintillator-based dosimeters for other modalities such as low-energy X-rays.
Charles-Antoine Collins Fekete, Ph.D.
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Research Fellow, University College London, London, United Kingdom
Ph.D. – Medical Physics, Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada, 2005, Canada, 2017
M.Sc. – Medical Physics, Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada, 2005, Canada, 2013
B.S. – Physics, Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada, 2011
Dr. Fekete received his Ph.D. in the field of proton therapy/proton imaging from Boston Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University under the supervision of both Prof. Dr. Joao Seco and Prof. Dr. Luc Beaulieu. As a current member of the PART research team at University College London, the overreaching goal of his research is to ameliorate lung cancer prognostics through advances in medical physics. To achieve this goal, his research interests include:
- Development of proton radiography and fluoroscopy for dynamic, adaptable proton radiation therapy
- Quantitative functional and anatomical imaging as input to machine learning
- Artificial intelligence and deep-learning methods in personalized radiation therapy