Scott Penfold

Dr Scott Penfold

Lecturer

School of Physical Sciences

Faculty of Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD, but is currently at capacity - 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. I am also working to develop a toolkit that will provide clinicians with an estimate of the quality of life a patient can expext from multiple potential treatment options. This is of primary interest in proton therapy where the cose of treatment is significantly larger than X-ray therapy.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2013 Lecturer and Medical Physics Program Coordinator University of Adelaide
    2010 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 On Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine
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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 Principal Supervisor Development of a Prototype EU-155 CT Scanner Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Giuseppe Michael Caporaso
    2018 Principal Supervisor Lutetium PSMA (Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen) for treatment of metastatic prostate cancer Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Miss Lucy Grigoroff
    2017 Principal Supervisor Machine Learning in External Beam Radiotherapy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr James Alan Keal
    2016 Principal Supervisor The Clinical Impact of Election Monte Carlo dose prescriptions in terms of dose to medium & dose to water Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Miss Hilary Frances Todd
    2016 Principal Supervisor A radiobiology markov simulation tool for aiding decision making in proton therapy referral Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Annabelle Mary Austin
    2015 Principal Supervisor Investigating the Feasibility of Monte Carlo Simulation for Independent Photon Mu Verification Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Mr Stephen James Gibson
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    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
    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
    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 Mr Michael John James Douglass
  • Position: Lecturer
  • Phone: 83133544
  • Email: scott.penfold@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 4380
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Physics, floor G
  • Room: G 27
  • Org Unit: Physics

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