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Proton Therapy programs

  1. Dec 26, 2015 #1
    Hello Forum members,

    I am very interested in pursuing a degree in Medical Physics and I have found the field of proton therapy to be quite interesting. I have been looking at various CAMPEP accredited programs to see which ones have strong proton therapy research faculty members and facilities. I have visited three programs thus far (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Georgia Tech) and only the former possesses the faculty and facilities, with the other two giving you the research opportunities and a clinical rotation at a proton therapy center (which I am assuming Georgia Tech will have once Emory's facility is completed next fall).
    M.D. Anderson (Texas - Houston Health Science Center) is the gold standard from what I have read. Florida also seems to have a strong program and it looks like Penn now has a high quality program. I am looking at starting my studies in Fall 2017, as I plan on taking Modern Physics, Intermediate E&M, Intermediate Mechanics, and Math Stats at my old university before I start.
    My G.R.E. scores, G.P.A., letters of recommendation, and prior research background are all very strong, so please list any and all CAMPEP accredited programs that have the above listed criteria I am seeking. Thank you for your time and please let me know if I have omitted any information or if something needs clarification! :-)
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2015 #2


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    It sounds like you already have a handle on things. I'd probably just go down the list of accredited medical physics programs and look at who's doing what on their respective research pages, which you're probably already doing and just want to make sure you're not missing anything. There are more than a few web pages out there that leave something to be desired.

    The only other thought, which might be worth mentioning is to keep in mind how specialized proton therapy is. I'm not sure exactly how many proton therapy facilities there are right now, but in the US it's likely less than 20. That's not to discourage you from doing research in it. There's a lot of really interesting stuff going on with protons right now (IMPT, combing protons with gold nanoparticles, modeling biological responses, range uncertainty, laser-driven proton therapy, etc.). It's just that it will probably be a good idea to make sure that the program will give you a well-rounded medical physics education as well as the opportunity to work with protons.
  4. Dec 27, 2015 #3
    Thanks for the advice, Choppy! I am seriously considering Oklahoma, L.S.U., Kentucky, and maybe Florida right now. The first two have a good combination of didactic, research, and clinical components. L.S.U. gives you an assistantship for a year each for those three areas (Teaching, Clinical, and Research) and Oklahoma allows you to work alongside physicists on using their equipment at their H.S.C. (around 10 hours per week assistantship) Kentucky also seems to have a strong program, minus the research component. They have a Dr. Luo who is working on those areas of research you mentioned above, so it would be nice to potentially work on those projects.

    Ideally, I would love to end up working in a proton therapy center but I want to have a well-rounded education, as you mentioned. According to the following link, there are 20 proton therapy centers in the U.S. right now, with plans for 15 more. So there could potentially be 35 by the end of the decade.

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