Teaching and Modules
The course is comprised of eight compulsory taught modules, followed by the Dissertation.
PRE COURSE MATERIAL
In September before the course start in October, you will have access to two short, self-paced, online courses, titled 'Underpinning Biology for Cancer Science' and 'Fundamentals of Human Anatomy'. You will need to complete these courses before you start the radiobiology focussed modules of the course (Modules 2 and 3) and you will be assessed on this pre-course material in the middle of the first term.
msc course MODULES
1. Physics of Radiation Interactions
This module will cover the physics of ionising radiation relevant to its interactions with macromolecules such as DNA, as well as cells and humans in the context of medical imaging, radiation oncology, and radiation protection.
2. Molecular Radiation Biology
Module Leads - Prof . Tim Humphrey
This module will cover the types of molecular damage caused by ionizing radiation, how they can be detected, and the cellular responses to such lesions at the molecular level, including cell cycle regulation, DNA repair and apoptosis. Further, we will consider how these molecular processes can promote tumorigenesis and how they are being exploited to target cancer. Understanding the evolutionarily conserved biological mechanisms described in this module will provide a molecular underpinning of how normal and cancer cells respond to radiation.
3. Radiobiology of Cells and Tissues
Module Leads - Dr Ketan Shah & Dr Monica Olcina del Molino
This module will discuss the responses to radiation at cell and tissue level. It will cover the response of cells to irradiation, the ways of characterising the response as a function of dose, radiation type, the effects of physical modifiers of response (dose-rate, fractionation) and chemical modifiers (oxygen, radical scavengers). The module will then go on to discuss how these principles are manifested in clinical cases, using both normal tissue and tumour examples. Students will learn about how fractionated radiotherapy schedules influence tissue responses, and the models that apply the kinetics of DNA damage and repair via cellular damage and regeneration, to normal tissue dysfunction and tumour control. We will also consider the recovery of tissue function and viability, as well as its implications for reirradiation.
4. Radiation Safety
Module Leads - Dr Helen Amatiello & Dr Aida Hallam
This module will cover the radiation protection governance framework both internationally and how it is translated to the UK. It applies this framework to both staff and patient safety in the clinical setting. It will embed and contextualise radiation risk, the hazards likely to be encountered in the clinical settings and form a foundation for the subsequent modules. Non-ionising radiation safety will be included in this module. Clinical application and function of non-ionising radiation will be covered in module 6.
5. Ionising Radiation Imaging Technologies
This module will cover detailed understanding of how images are obtained from x-ray, CT, gamma camera, SPECT/CT and PET/CT cameras. Including practical experience with image reconstruction. Sessions will cover established techniques for quality assurance, dosimetry and image optimisation in medical imaging alongside new developments and innovation in existing and emerging fields of imaging with ionising radiation and their potential impact on current diagnosis and treatment
6. Non-ionising Radiation Technologies
This module will cover detailed understanding of how images are obtained from MRI, US, UV and optical techniques. This module will cover detailed understanding of how images are obtained from MRI, US, UV and optical techniques. Sessions will cover basic MR physics, the nature of a pulse sequence, and the principles underlying the generation of an image from an FID.
7. Radiation Therapy Physics
Module Leads - Dr Kristoffer Petersson & Dr Jonathan Lane
This module will cover detailed understanding of how therapy is delivered by external beam radiotherapy, brachytherapy and targeted radiotherapy. The latest developments within proton and FLASH radiotherapy will be discussed. The module will include practical experience of dosimetry for both external beam and targeted radionuclide radiotherapy.
8. Translational Research Methods and Applications
This module will provide students with the techniques and tools needed to meet the unique needs of conducting research in the fields of Cancer Science, Radiobiology, or Medical Physics. There are many field-specific considerations that they will need to know to successfully and responsibly conduct research, largely relating to the fact that many studies will involve clinical trials and potentially sensitive patient data.
This course is reviewed annually and subject to minor changes in response to feedback and evaluation.
TEACHING AND RESOURCES
Each module is led by two module leads plus additional lecturers for specialist input. Learning is facilitated through a mixture of lectures, small group tutorials, laboratory practicals, demonstrations, visits, and one to one supervisions. Teaching is in-person (both lectures and tutorials), with some exceptions due to travel and expert availability.
You will be given access to state-of-the art technology to support your learning including the University’s virtual learning environment (VLE), Canvas. Lecture materials will be recorded and will be available for you to re-watch in your own time, alongside recommended reading and other activities.
Teaching takes place in the Oncology Education Hub, which includes dedicated lecture and tutorial rooms at the heart of the department, alongside an open plan, unassigned seating workspace for masters and first year DPhil students.