Scott Penfold

Scott Penfold

School of Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

I am a Certified Medical Physics Specialist within the field of Radiation Oncology. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Wollongong (UoW) and was awarded the University Medal in the Faculty of Engineering in 2006. I subsequently went on to complete my PhD in a joint project with UoW and Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.

In 2010, during the last year of my PhD, I began clinical medical physics training at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH). In 2013 I sat my final certification exam and joined the ACPSEM register of certified medical physics specialists.

In September 2013, I joined the University of Adelaide (UoA) Department of Physics as a half-time academic, while also retaining half-time employment at the RAH. I am currently working as the postgraduate co-ordinator for Medical Physics at UoA. My roles include undergraduate practical demonstration and lecturing, and postgraduate lecturing and research supervision.

My research interests predominantly lie in proton therapy and quantitative imaging for image guided radiotherapy.

My PhD studies were focussed on image reconstruction algorithms for proton computed tomography (pCT). Proton CT differs from the common X-ray CT scanners by using energetic protons to traverse the body as opposed to kilovoltage X-rays. A measurement of the energy lost by protons as they traverse the body in pCT can be used to reconstruct a stopping power map of a patient. This information is useful in the emerging cancer treatment field of proton therapy.

Proton therapy is a highly conformal method of delivering therapeutic doses of radiation to treat cancer. Proton therapy has the advantage over the more common X-ray therapy that protons have a finite range in matter. Therefore, a beam of energetic protons can be directed at the cancer site, minimizing the dose to the surrounding healthy tissue. To be able to stop the proton beam at precisely the right location, an accurate map of proton stopping powers is required. This is the primary purpose of pCT.

The image reconstruction challenge in pCT stems from the fact that protons, as charged particles, interact with the electric fields of atomic electrons and nuclei in the patient tissues and undergo multiple scattering. Most image reconstruction algorithms assume the radiation travelled in a straight line between source and detector and when using this assumption in pCT, poor spatial resolution of the reconstructed image results. Special techniques are required to accurately account for the scattering of the protons in the patient.

In general, my research interests are focussed around proton therapy, including pCT and intensity modulated proton therapy optimization algorithms.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2013 - ongoing Lecturer and Medical Physics Program Coordinator University of Adelaide
    2010 - ongoing Medical Physics Specialist Royal Adelaide Hospital
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2009 Award Cancer Institute NSW Research Scholars Award Cancer Institute NSW Australia 25,000
    2006 Award University Medal (Faculty of Engineering) University of Wollongong Australia -
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2003 - 2006 University of Wollongong Australia B Medical Radiation Physics (1st Class Honours)
    University of Wollongong Australia PhD
  • Certifications

    Date Title Institution name Country
    2013 Certified Medical Physics Specialist (Radiation Oncology) Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine -
  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2023 Co-Supervisor Novel techniques to improve proton beam therapy for base of skull tumours. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jia Wei Law
    2020 Principal Supervisor Comparison of Novel Volumetric Imaging Systems for Adaptive Proton Therapy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Mitchell Ryan Herrick
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2022 Principal Supervisor Assessment of Adaptive Radiotherapy Workflows for Head and Neck Cancer Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Mr George Antoniou
    2016 - 2020 Co-Supervisor The Clinical Effect of Changing from a Dose to Water to a Dose to Medium-Based Methodology to Calculate Monitor Units for Electron Beams Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Miss Hilary Frances Todd
    2016 - 2019 Principal Supervisor A radiobiological Markov model for aiding decision making in proton therapy referral Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Annabelle Mary Austin
    2015 - 2018 Principal Supervisor An Optical Computed Tomography Scanner for Three Dimensional Gel Dosimetry of Radiotherapy Dose Distributions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Daniel Paul Norman Ramm
    2015 - 2019 Principal Supervisor A Method for Validating a Transperineal Ultrasound System for Intrafraction Monitoring of the Prostate during External Beam Radiotherapy Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Mr Stephen James Gibson
    2014 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Investigation of Acuros XB Radiotherapy Dose Calculation Algorithm Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Mr Andrew McGrath
    2013 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Monte Carlo Conversion for the Australian Primary Standard of Absorbed Dose to Water in High Energy Photon Beams Master of Science (Medical Physics) Master Part Time Ms Tracy Elizabeth Wright
    2013 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Development of an Independent Monte Carlo Dose Calculation Tool for Validation of the Monaco Electron Treatment Planning System Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Mr Robert John Crane
    2012 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Dual Energy Image Reconstruction and Systems for Application in Proton Therapy Treatment Planning Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jiahua Zhu
    2011 - 2014 Co-Supervisor Development of an Integrated Stochastic Radiobiological Model for Electromagnetic Particle Interactions in a 4D Cellular Geometry Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Michael John James Douglass

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