Medical Physics Research Cluster

‌The Medical Physics research cluster was founded by Dr Mark Foley in 2006. In 2016/17 the academic PI’s in the group have expanded to include Dr Niall Colgan and Dr Christoph Kleefeld. The PI’s Research interests are in the fields of Medical Imaging, Radiation Physics and Radiation Therapy. Over the past decade the group has developed new insights in the Medical & Radiation Physics fields including the applications of Monte Carlo codes in Radiotherapy and novel Medical Imaging systems with collaborators nationally and internationally. More details below.

Dr Mark Foley                        

Dr Niall Colgan           


Dr Christoph Kleefeld


Dr Le Chi Hung - Postdoctoral Researcher

 Postdoctoral Researcher

Marcin Krasny - Research assistant

Parisa Taheri Foroushani - PhD candidate

Saleh Alanezi - PhD candidate

James Blackwell - PhD candidate

Diseases such as tumours and fibrosis, are known to alter the mechanical properties of the soft tissue. Therefore, accurately measuring the mechanical properties of soft tissue may help the diagnosis of these diseases and the monitoring of their development. My project involves creating stiffness maps, called elastograms, of soft tissue such as the brain or prostate using ultrasound shear waves. Along with creating elastograms, I also want to develop and characterise agar soft tissue ultrasound phantoms using destructive testing and non-linear analysis.


Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship, Irish Research Council 2018-2022

 Gideon Oluniran - PhD candidate

Research investigates novel optimisation methods for cellular and sub-cellular fluorescence imaging using mathematical, computational, and photonic techniques to improve spatiotemporal resolution.


Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CURAM), National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland.

Marta Fuente Lastra - PhD candidate (2020 graduation)


Mohammed Al-aswad - PhD candidate

Majed Alharbi - PhD candidate (2020 graduation)

A collaborative research project includes the School of Physics, the Institute of Cancer Research in London, the Optical Fibre Sensors Research Centre at the University of Limerick and the Dept. of Radiotherapy Physics in the Galway Clinic. The aim of which is to characterise novel optical fibre sensors, benchmark their response against Monte Carlo models and Gafchromic film measurements. The novel sensor can then be used in a wide variety of applications such as to investigate the dosimetric effect of using ultrasound imaging for image guidance for radiotherapy.

Ahmad Albngali - PhD candidate

Ahmad Albngali - PhD candidate


Michael Martyn - PhD candidate (graduated 2018)

Michael Martyn - PhD candidate

On completion of his PhD in 2018, Mike was employed as a Medical Physicist in Radiotherapy @ University Hospital Galway.

Collaborators include:           

  • Joint Department of Physics, Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom.
  • University Hospital Galway, Galway, Ireland.

 Research focuses on the role of ultrasound imaging in radiation therapy - with an emphasis on modelling the effect of ultrasound probes on radiation dosimetry. This is achieved through the development of computational models, based on the Monte Carlo software packages BEAMnrc and DOSXYZnrc.


  • Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine UK – Travel bursary award 2016
  • Irish Association of Physicists in Medicine/Imaging Equipment Ltd. - Imaging Equipment Ltd. Bursary 2015
  • College of Science, National University of Ireland Galway  – PhD fellowship award 2013 - 2016

Gillian Gunning - PhD candidate (graduated 2016)

Gillian Gunning - PhD candidate

Collaborators include – Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland & Trinity College Dublin


Margaret Toohey - research Masters graduate 2016

Margaret Toohey - PhD candidate

Collaborators include – UHG & NCBES 

On completion Margaret joined Valeo Vision Systems (Valeo is the world’s leading provider of driving assistance systems to automotive manufacturers).

Gordon Sands - PhD candidate (completed 2016/17)

Gordon Sands - PhD candidate

On completion of his PhD, Gordon was employed as a Senior Medical Physicist at Oxford University Hospitals, UK.

 Gordon is a Medical physicist with CAMPEP accredited residency completed.

The project aims to develop a set of tools (Radiation Oncology System Safety Analysis ROSSA) which will allow the users of complex radiotherapy systems to assess the risks and safety gaps in their system. The result of this will be safer and more accurate radiotherapy. This will be of benefit not just to Radiotherapy, but also to a large number of other areas in health care as ROSSA can be adapted to systems such as Radiology (PACS), Clinical information Systems in ICU and Cardiology.

RPII IRRS research award 2012 

Health Research Board – funding award 2010

Ronan Havelin - PhD candidate (graduated November 2013)

Ronan Havelin - PhD candidate (graduated November 2013)

On completion of his PhD, Ronan was employed as a ‎Senior Design Engineer at ASML, Norwalk, Connecticut, USA.

Collaborators include – Prof. Harrison Barrett CGRI, University of Arizona, US & Prof. Frank Barry, REMEDI & Dr Róisín Dwyer, National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI)  

A collaborative research project involving the School of Physics, REMEDI and the Center for Gamma Ray Imaging at the University of Arizona. The aim of which is to develop a small animal imaging system tailored for REMEDI’s needs.

Ronan completed a study spell at CGRI, University of Arizona, USA (Nov 2010 - June 2012). 

Newport Research Excellence Award – August 2013

SPIE: Optics + Photonics travel grant – June 2013

Sean Walsh – PhD candidate (graduated November 2012)

On completion of his PhD, Sean was employed as a Senior Scientist at the Maastro Clinic, Maastricht, the Netherlands. 

This project involves the development of mathematical models to predict the radio-biological response of a radiotherapy patient (e.g. the prostate and lung). The project also incorporates the development of a computational model for the movement and deformation of the tumour and organs at risk. 

IRRS Research Award

Tumour Targeting & Radiotherapies Network of the Cancéropôle Grand-Ouest France Research Award

Elaine Conneely - PhD candidate (graduated March 2012)


On completion of her PhD, Elaine was employed as a Diagnostic Imaging intern at UHG. 

Collaborators include – Professor Jan Seuntjens, MPU McGill University, Montreal, Canada

A collaborative research project established with the Medical Physics Unit at McGill University, Montreal. The aim of which includes beta testing and developing MMCTP, a radiotherapy research environment which will provide a platform for Monte Carlo and patient-specific treatment planning comparison. 

McGill University Research Fellowship (2010)

IPEM Bursary Scheme Award

IRPG Research Award

IoP Research Award

Tuathan O Shea – PhD candidate (graduated March 2012)

Tuathan O Shea – PhD candidate (graduated March 2012)

On completion of his PhD, Tuathan was employed as a Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London. 

Collaborators include Professor Bruce Faddegon, Comprehensive Cancer Centre, University of California San Francisco (UCSF), USA 

This project is focussed on using Monte Carlo methods for dose calculation, and establishing fast means of dose calculation for depth penetration and output calculation using the accurate beam models which are being developed for a NIH funded project. 

Mount Zion Health Fund (MZHF) Award (2009)

University of California Exchange Programme scholarship (2008)

Cancer Research Ireland Oncology Scholars Travel Award (2007)

Patrick Downes – PhD candidate (graduated June 2011)


On completion of his PhD, Paddy was employed as a clinical medical physicist at Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff, UK.

His PhD researched and developed a fast and lightweight Monte Carlo dose calculation method for the verification of patient treatment. An accurate model of the linac was developed through comparing the model against measurement, and optimised for efficiency. The developed model was compared against a commercial dose calculation algorithm for a number of patients. Speed-ups were obtained through the use of High Throughput Computing. 


recent dissemination - click here

Monte Carlo investigation of collapsed versus rotated IMRT plan verification, Conneely et al. (accepted for publication 2014) 

3D Ultrasound In Image Guided Radiation Therapy
. M Martyn, C Kleefeld, D Fontanarosa, F Verhaegen, M Moore, M J Foley. 40th European Radiation Research Conference, September 2013

Initial clinical experience with a breast PET system for molecular imaging. Foley M J, Jasper Chaal, Jianhua Yan, Sze Yiun Teo, David Townsend. Proc 40th European Radiation Research Conference, September 2013

A SPECT imager with synthetic collimation, Havelin et al., Proceedings of SPIE, Volume 8853, 2013 

Design and performance of a small-animal imaging system using synthetic collimation, 
Havelin et al., Physics in Medicine and Biology Volume 58 Issue 10, 3397, 2013 
An investigation into the use of MMCTP to tune accelerator source parameters and testing its clinical application, 
Conneely et al., Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics Volume 14 Issue 2, 2013 

A TCP model for external beam treatment of intermediate-risk prostate cancer, Walsh et al., Medical physics Volume 40 Issue 3, 2013

Energy that works, M Foley, J Goggins, R Monaghan, K Morrissey, H Rau, D Taylor, Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF), July 2012

MammoSite Brachytherapy; A safety approach to Quality Assurance using IDEFØ diagrams, G. Sands, M. Galicic, W. van der Putten and E. Fallon, Proceedings of the World congress on Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering, Beijing, China, May 2012

Patient dosimetry and a novel approach to establishing Diagnostic Reference Levels in dental radiology, Walker C, van der Putten W, Physica Medica: European Journal of Medical Physics, January 2012

Characterization of an extendable multi­-leaf collimator for clinical electron beams, Tuathan O'Shea, Yuanyuan Ge, Mark J Foley and Bruce A Faddegon Physics in Medicine and Biology, volume 56, 7621-7638, November 2011

Development of a novel synthetic collimator small animal SPECT imaging system , M J Foley, R Havelin, Brian W. Miller, H. H. Barrett, Proceedings of the European Medical Physics & Engineering Conference, September 2011

Mesenchymal stem cell-mediated delivery of the sodium iodide symporter supports radionuclide imaging and treatment of breast cancer, R. M. Dwyer et al. STEM CELLS, Volume 29, Issue 7, pages 1149–1157, July 2011

Accounting for the fringe magnetic field from the bending magnet in a Monte Carlo accelerator treatment head simulation, O’Shea Tuathan P, Mark J Foley, Bruce A Faddegon, Medical Physics, Volume 38, Issue 6, June 2011

A low cost non-invasive small animal in vivo imaging system to investigate Mesenchymal stem cell homing in a mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis, Cian Kennedy, Ronan Havelin, Cathal O Flatharta, Mark Foley, Mary Murphy, Harrison Barrett, Frank Barry, Regenerative Medicine IASI, International Conference in Romania, July 2010

Monte Carlo commissioning of clinical electron beams using large field measurements, O’Shea Tuathan P, Daren L Sawkey, Mark J Foley, Bruce A Faddegon, Physics in Medicine and Biology, volume 55, no. 14, July 2010

Accounting for the Effect of a Magnetic Field From the Bending Magnet in Monte Carlo Accelerator Treatment Head Simulation, O’Shea Tuathan P, Daren L Sawkey, Mark J Foley, Bruce A Faddegon, Med. Phys. Volume 36, Issue 6, June 2010

Distributed Radiotherapy Simulation with the Webcom Workflow System , Patrick Downes, Oisín Curran, John Cunniffe, Andy Shearer, International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications, vol. 24 no. 2, May 2010

Sodium iodide symporter (NIS) mediated tracking of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) migration to breast tumours in vivo ,Dwyer R et al., Human Gene Therapy, Volume 20, Issue 11, November 2009

Monte Carlo modelling of the Siemens virtual wedge , Foley M, P Downes, A Shearer, M Moore and W van der Putten, Proc European Workshop on Monte Carlo Treatment Planning, Oct 2009

Treatment head disassembly to improve the accuracy of large electron field simulation , Faddegon B. A., D. Sawkey, T. O’Shea, M. McEwen, and C. Ross, Med. Phys. Volume 36, Issue 10, October 2009

Improved simulation of small electron fields for external beam radiation therapy , O'Shea T. P., D. L. Sawkey, M. J. Foley, B. A. Faddegon, Proceedings of the World congress on Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering, Springer, Volume 25, Issue 1, Sept 2009.

Improved Monte Carlo simulation of small electron fields , O'Shea T, B Faddegon, D Sawkey, M Foley, Med. Phys. Volume 36, Issue 6, June 2009

Simulation of Large X-Ray Fields Using Independently Measured Source and Geometry Details , Sawkey D, T O'Shea, V Taranenko, B Faddegon, Med. Phys. Volume 36, Issue 6, June 2009

Quantification of risk-benefit in interventional radiology, B O'Brien, W van der Putten, Radiation Protection Dosimetry, Vol. 129 Issue 1-3, February 2008

Electron beam therapy at extended SSD: a Monte Carlo investigation of output from a Siemens Oncor linear accelerator,O’Shea, T, M J Foley, D Rajasekar, P A Downes, W van der Putten, M Moore, A Shearer, Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics, vol. 9, no. 4, 2008