Medical Physics

    Medical Physics is a branch of applied physics that uses concepts and methods of physics to help diagnose and treat human disease. The field of Medical Physics covers a broad range of technologies and applications, ranging from diagnostic methods as x-ray imaging, x-ray computed tomography, structural and functional magnetic resonance tomography, nuclear medicine, ultrasound imaging, and optical tomography and diagnostics, over therapeutic techniques as radiation therapy, image guided therapy, and laser treatment techniques, to supportive fields like medical image processing, quality assurance, and radiation dosimetry.

    Here is a short overview of selected research topics and thematic fields for PhD theses presently covered by participating work groups

    Biomedical Engineering and Physics

    The work groups at the Center for Biomedical Engineering and Physics work in various diagnostic and therapeutic fields of clinical physics in close cooperation with clinical departments. The research fields comprise: diagnostic imaging and visualization, computer assisted surgery and image guided therapy, nuclear medical imaging systems, biokinetics of radioactive tracers and drugs, medical ultrasound, and x-ray diagnostics (detectors, imaging, dosimetry)

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Spectroscopy, and Microscopy

    Diagnostics of pathologic changes in various organs is based on imaging and identification of morphologic, functional, and metabolic changes. Magnetic resonance (MR) is a unique tool to perform these tasks in both, a qualitative and a quantitative way. Since only rather short measuring times (< 1h) are acceptable for patient imaging, the improvement of sensitivity and specificity is a primary goal of any in vivo application. Research in this field comprises development of measuring and data processing techniques, modeling, statistical analysis, parameter selective MR imaging, MR micro imaging, functional MRI and MR spectroscopy for detection of various pathologies (tumors, cardio-vascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic disorders, etc.). This work is carried out at a high-field MR system (3 Tesla) and – in future – with a 7 Tesla system, in cooperation with various clinical departments

    Medical Radiation Physics in Oncology

    Medical radiation physics studies the effects of ionizing radiation in matter, especially in living tissues. Main applications are diagnosis and treatment of tumors. Treatments can be performed with different types of radiation qualities (e.g., photons, electrons, protons, neutrons, ions). For treatment delivery accuracy physiological effects (e.g. organ movements, organ fillings) have lead to the development of image guided or 4D radiotherapy, where also time variable effects are taken into account. For brachytherapy, where sealed sources are placed directly into or near the target volume, 3D imaging has become an evolving field. Modern imaging techniques such as CT, MRI and PET play an important role for treatment planning and optimization. Research in these fields comprises dosimetry, dose calculation, treatment planning and treatment plan optimization, image guided radiotherapy, and radiation biology. Finally, physics research in radiation oncology includes quality assurance and radiation protection

    Optical Coherence Tomography and Tissue Interferometry

    The Institute of Medical Physics has been one of the pioneering laboratories developing optical coherence tomography (OCT) and tissue interferometry. Advantages of optical technologies are their safe use (no ionizing radiation) and rather low costs. OCT records cross sectional and 3D images of transparent and translucent tissues with a resolution of ~ 1-10 µm. Its main application field is ophthalmology (retinal and corneal imaging), other application fields are, e.g., skin and mucosa of internal organs (via endoscopy). Main research fields of the participating work groups comprise improvement of resolution (\"optical biopsy\"), imaging speed, sensitivity, advanced contrast techniques, spectroscopy, and functional imaging and measurements (blood flow, blood oxygenation in response to pharmaceutical intervention)

    Educational Aims

    An additional aim of the program is the education of scientists who shall be able to independently develop diagnostic and therapeutic technologies based on physical methods, from conceptualization to clinical trials. They shall be able to carry out their own scientific projects. Their qualification profile covers basic knowledge of theoretical medicine, Medical Physics, as well as in-depth knowledge of Medical Physics in the specific field of their thesis