Prof. Rowan Thomson

Carleton University
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Date of Live Presentation: Tue, 07-Feb-2023


Curing cancer with physics: Multiscale modeling from patients to cells


Radiation therapy is a common treatment for cancer, aiming to maximize tumour cell kill while limiting healthy tissue radiation exposure. Sophisticated simulations using the Monte Carlo technique are used to model the passage of radiation through matter and calculate dose, the energy deposited in tissue by radiation. This presentation will focus on the development and application of computational techniques to study energy deposition in different contexts towards advancing radiation therapy. These include patient-level simulations with direct applications in current treatments, cell-level simulations including applications for prospective treatments involving nanoparticles and, finally, subcellular-level simulations considering possible quantum effects in electron transport.

Short bio

Rowan Thomson is a Canada Research Chair and Professor of Physics at Carleton University. She holds a BSc Double Honours Mathematics and Physics from Carleton University. Her PhD research was in theoretical physics (Superstring Theory) at Perimeter Institute and the University of Waterloo, and was awarded Waterloo’s Pearson Medal. Post-PhD, Dr. Thomson’s research has focused on medical physics. Distinctions include Ontario’s Polanyi Prize in Physics (2011), Ontario Early Researcher Award (2015), Fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (2020), and Member of the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists (2022). Professor Thomson has great enthusiasm for teaching and mentoring the next generations of scientists. She leads initiatives to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion as Associate Dean (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) in the Faculty of Science at Carleton University.

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