Carleton University Postdoctoral Research Associate Awarded Important Fellowship

Monday, January 1, 2007

Later today, Carleton University alumna, Dr. Rowan Thomson, will be awarded a $20,000 L'Oréal Canada For Women in Science Research Excellence Fellowship with the support of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

Dr. Thomson graduated from Carleton University four years ago with a Bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics and has now completed her doctorate in theoretical physics at the University of Waterloo. She returned to Carleton this September to take up a position as a postdoctoral research associate in
the Carleton Laboratory for Radiotherapy Physics in the Physics Department.

In her present position, she is working with Dr. David Rogers, Canada Research Chair in Medical Physics.

"I am very excited to apply my knowledge of physics to solving problems related to human health and improving cancer treatments," said Dr. Thomson. "I am thrilled to be working with Dr. Rogers, a recognized expert and pioneer in this field."

Dr. Thomson will use the Fellowship to develop a Monte Carlo dose calculation algorithm for brachytherapy, a radiation treatment which involves placing radioactive sources next to or inside a tumour in, e.g. the breast or prostate. The challenge is to predict the optimal dose needed to kill cancer while minimizing harm to healthy tissue. She will be working with a prototype dose calculation engine developed by Dr. Rogers and his team at Carleton University. This prototype is a Monte Carlo simulation which uses the knowledge of the probabilities of various radiation interactions, random numbers, and the
initial amount of radioactivity to predict the energy deposited from given sources. The goal of her work is to develop and test a fully operational Monte Carlo dose calculation that could be integrated into a clinical treatment planning system.

For more information:
Lori Tarbett
Media and Special Events Officer
Carleton University
613-520-2600 ext. 2948
lori_tarbettatcarleton [dot] ca