Course Information for PHYSH230B

Course Number:


Cross List:

Course Name:

Biophysical Applications in Medicine: Medical Imaging

Fulfills: NA/QU



Semester & Year:

NOT OFFERED 2002-2003

Course Description:

A one-semester course in the science of modern medical imaging technologies. We will explore the scientific background necessary to understand techniques in radiology drawn from a list including diagnostic x-ray imaging, computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Students will learn how to approach each problem from a highly interdisciplinary perspective, through consideration of topics ranging from the physics of ionizing radiation and the biology of cancer causation to computational techniques for image reconstruction. Specific medical applications discussed (and possible student project topics) will include: radiography (ordinary medical x-rays), fluoroscopy, mammography, osteoporosis screening, CT (computed tomography), applications of PET and MRI brain scans in neuroscience, magnetoencephalography (MEG's) and their use in neurology, ultrasound imaging, the development of cutting-edge optical tomographic imaging techniques, and the use of imaging techniques in cancer radiation therapy planning.

The course's format will include an introductory lecture series by Prof. Amador based on selected readings from the literature. This shared introduction will include discussions of the fundamental topics in science and image processing necessary for the remainder of the course. During this introductory period, students will choose two topics from a list of suggestions for their two projects in the course. Each student will do an initial small and a final major project, which will include a program of reading, several in-class presentations, and a paper. Each topic will include an investigation of: the basic science underlying the technique chosen; the instrumentation and imaging processing techniques utilized; and applications of each technique in either clinical settings or biomedical research. Several guest speakers will describe their use of these techniques in their research or clinical work.

Who should take this course: Students considering careers in medicine or medical physics are encouraged to take Physics 230 rather than Physics/GP 108. This course is appropriate for students planning on majoring in any of the natural science departments, and does not require advanced coursework in physics as a prerequisite.



Course Requirements:

Two one and a half-hour lectures per week, TuTh 10-11:30, in Sharpless 111.

Weekly readings plus short problem sets for the first month of the course; a 10-page paper on the first smaller topic, and a final 18+-page paper on the final topic, plus several in-class presentations.


Physics 102 or 106, Math 114 or 121.

At least one semester of coursework at the 200-level in the natural sciences (Biology, Chemistry or Physics)

 Internet Resources

Many medical images and medical databases are now available via the World Wide Web. This listing represents a first attempt at citing some of the most relevant ones for this course, and it will be updated throughout the semester. Please notify the instructor if you find any interesting sites, or if you would like your own site listed.

Medical Sites on the Web:

An overview of different Medical Physics Imaging technologies
Radiation and Health Physics

Ultrasound Scans Dr. Joe Woo's ultrasound imaging site: one of the best Web Pages around. Be sure to check out the 3D images

St. Paul's Hospital Department of Radiology
Let's Play PET (interactive PET teaching file from UCLA):
Three Dimensional Medical Reconstruction

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