Clinical Applications of Physics in Medicine (PHYS*7510)

Code and section: PHYS*7510*01

Term: Winter 2018

Instructor: Janos Juhasz


Course Information

Course Description

This course provides an overview of the application of physics to medicine. The physical concepts underlying the diagnosis and treatment of disease will be explored. Topics will include general imaging principles such as resolution, intensity, and contrast; x-ray imaging and computed tomography; radioisotopes and nuclear medicine, SPECT and PET; magnetic resonance imaging; ultrasound imaging and radiation therapy.
Prerequisites: PHYS*3170
Restrictions: PHYS*4560

Course Objectives

To introduce students to a wide variety of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy topics relevant to Health Sciences. To widen student’s horizon with the most recent innovations and advancements in medical imagining modalities and radiation therapy techniques. To improve on the communication skills of the students (scientific report writing).

Class Schedule and Location

Day Time Location
Monday 7PM – 9:50PM MACN, Room 101

3 hours of lecture per week for 12 weeks, including graduate student seminar presentations. Participation in in-class discussions is strongly encouraged.


Lecturer Office Email
Dr. Janos Juhasz, MCCPM MACN 330

Course Materials


There is no single textbook that covers the complete course. All lecture notes and additional materials will be posted in your course shell (CourseLink). To some extent, we will follow:

  1. “Introduction to Medical Imaging” – N. B. Smith, A. Webb, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010
  2. “Radiation Oncology Physics: A Handbook for Teachers and Students” – E.B. Podgorsak, IAEA, 2005 (free PDF version available online)

Course Website

Courselink (

Course Evaluation

Assessment Weight
Quizzes 15%
Mid-term Test (90 minutes, February 26, 2018, 7PM-8:30PM) 30%
Term Study Project (Due date: March 26, 2018 at 7PM) 15%
Final Exam (cumulative 2 hours, April 09, 2018, 7PM-9PM) 40%

All exams are closed-book.

Passing Requirements:

A numerical mark of 50% is required to pass the course. In addition, a mark of at least 35/70 in the examinations (mid-term and final examination) must be obtained.

Posting of Marks:

Grades will be posted in the online course shell, so that students can view only their grades.


Quizzes are 10 minutes long and consist of multiple choice questions. Quizzes are administered every lecture based on the material covered in the previous lecture. There will be 8 quizzes in total. The best 6 out of 8 grades will count towards the student’s final grade. There will be no make-up for missed quizzes. Typically, quizzes will be available through CourseLink after the first part of the lecture, not at the beginning of the lecture time.

Term Study Project:

Each student is required to write a minimum 5 and a maximum of 8 pages long scientific report on a given topic; the list of topics is posted online in the course shell. A spreadsheet is set-up so students can sign up for a topic of their choice. Students must choose a topic and inform the course instructor within the first two weeks of semester start. However, if a student wishes to write an essay on a different topic the course instructor has to approve the selected topic within the first two weeks of the course! Also, there is a guideline available on how to write the essay online in the course shell. A folder is set up in your course shell to submit your essay. A penalty of 2% per day (including weekends) is administered in case of a late submission. In this course, your instructor will be using Turnitin, integrated with the CourseLink Dropbox tool, to detect possible plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration or copying as part of the ongoing efforts to maintain academic integrity at the University of Guelph. All submitted term study reports will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the service is subject to the Usage Policy posted on the site. A major benefit of using Turnitin is that students will be able to educate and empower themselves in preventing academic misconduct. In this course, you may screen your own assignments through Turnitin as many times as you wish before the due date. You will be able to see and print reports that show you exactly where you have properly and improperly referenced the outside sources and materials in your assignment.

Topics Hours (approximate)

General image characteristics, data acquisition and image reconstruction:

  • Spatial resolution
  • Signal-to-noise ratio
  • Contrast-to-noise ratio
  • Image filtering
  • Data acquisition
  • Image artifacts
  • Fourier transforms
  • Backprojections, sonograms and filtered backprojection
  • The X-ray tube
  • The X-ray energy spectrum
  • Interaction of X-rays with the body
  • Linear attenuation coefficient

X-ray planar radiography:

  • Instrumentation of planar radiography
  • X-ray detectors
  • X-ray contrast agents
  • Specialized X-ray imaging techniques
  • Clinical applications of planar radiography

Computed tomography (CT):

  • Instrumentation for CT
  • Acquisition modes
  • Image reconstruction in CT
  • Dual-source and dual-energy CT
  • Radiation Dose
  • Clinical applications of CT

Planar scintigraphy:

  • Radioactivity and radiotracer half-life
  • The technetium generator
  • The gamma camera
  • Clinical applications of planar scintigraphy

Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT):

  • Data processing in SPECT
  • Clinical applications of SPECT and SPECT/CT

Positron emission tomography (PET):

  • Radiotracers used for PET/CT
  • Instrumentation of PET/CT
  • Data processing in PET/CT
  • Clinical applications of PET/CT

Ultrasound imaging:

  • Wave propagation and characteristic acoustic impedance
  • Absorption and attenuation
  • Instrumentation
  • Transducers
  • Clinical applications

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):

  • Effects of string magnetic field on protons in the body
  • Effects of a radiofrequency pulse on magnetization
  • MRI instrumentation
  • Relaxation times
  • Image acquisition
  • Image reconstruction
  • Image characteristics
  • MRI contrast agents
  • Clinical applications

Radiation Therapy:

  • The RT process
  • Target volumes definitions
  • Clinical Linear Accelerator
  • Photon and electron beam therapy
  • Brachytherapy
  • Special topics pertaining to Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy
  • Other (selected by the student and approved by course instructor)
Independent Study
  • Graduate students presentation
Independent preparation
(20-30 min. oral presentation)

Course Policies

Course Evaluation

The Department of Physics requires student assessment of all courses taught by the Department. These assessments provide essential feedback to faculty on their teaching by identifying both strengths and possible areas of improvement. In addition, annual student assessment of teaching provides part of the information used by the Department’s Tenure and Promotion Committee in evaluating the faculty member's contribution in the area of teaching.

The Department's teaching evaluation questionnaire invites student response both through numerically quantifiable data, and written student comments. In conformity with University of Guelph Faculty Policy, the Department’s Tenure and Promotions Committee only considers comments signed by students (choosing "I agree" in question 14). Your instructor will see all signed and unsigned comments after final grades are submitted. Written student comments may also be used in support of a nomination for internal and external teaching awards.

Note: No information will be passed on to the instructor until after the final grades have been submitted.

E-mail Communication

As per university regulations, all students are required to check their <> e-mail account regularly: e-mail is the official route of communication between the University and its students.

When You Cannot Meet a Course Requirement

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor (or designated person, such as a teaching assistant) in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the undergraduate calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration.

Drop Date

The last date to drop one-semester courses, without academic penalty, is Friday, March 9th, 2018. For regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses, see the Undergraduate Calendar.

Copies of out-of-class assignments

Keep paper and/or other reliable back-up copies of all out-of-class assignments: you may be asked to resubmit work at any time.


The University promotes the full participation of students who experience disabilities in their academic programs. To that end, the provision of academic accommodation is a shared responsibility between the University and the student.

When accommodations are needed, the student is required to first register with Student Accessibility Services (SAS). Documentation to substantiate the existence of a disability is required, however, interim accommodations may be possible while that process is underway.

Accommodations are available for both permanent and temporary disabilities. It should be noted that common illnesses such as a cold or the flu do not constitute a disability.

Use of the SAS Exam Centre requires students to book their exams at least 7 days in advance, and not later than the 40th Class Day.

More information:

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community – faculty, staff, and students – to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring. University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection.

Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Recording of Materials

Presentations which are made in relation to course work—including lectures—cannot be recorded or copied without the permission of the presenter, whether the instructor, a classmate or guest lecturer. Material recorded with permission is restricted to use for that course unless further permission is granted.


The Academic Calendars are the source of information about the University of Guelph’s procedures, policies and regulations which apply to undergraduate, graduate and diploma programs.