Daliya Ignatius: A UWA Masters Graduate’s Success Story
Daliya completed a BSc majoring in Physics and Chemistry (and minor in Maths) at Australian National University (ANU), followed by a Master of Physics (Medical Physics) at UWA in 2022. She is currently working in Liverpool Hospital as a Radiation Oncology Medical Physics (ROMP) registrar going through the clinical training program. Her thesis title was: “Evaluation of radiotherapy treatment planning of spine and pelvis using single energy metal artifact reduction corrected CT images" supervised by: Assoc/Prof Mahsheed Sabet, Mr Zaid Alkhatib, Dr Pejman Rowshanfarzad, Mr Simon Goodall, and Dr Mounir Ibrahim.
Daliya was one of our capable graduates who did very well in her Masters project.
Here is what her principal supervisor, Assoc/Prof Mahsheed Sabet, has to say about her: “It was a pleasure to supervise Daliya. She was great in communication and listened carefully to our advice. She was a hard worker and amazingly well organized. Daliya arranged for routine online meetings during Covid and even after and provided regular updates on her progress. She did a great job in her project and made the effort to write up her findings as a paper which is currently in review. I could not be happier with her work and am very proud of her achievements.”
Daliya kindly accepted to answer our questions about her experience at our group:
Introduction and your current position and role:
"My name is Daliya Ignatius. I graduated from the University of Western Australia in 2022 with Master of Physics: Medical Physics. I am working as a radiation oncology medical physics (ROMP) registrar at Liverpool and Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centres in Sydney, New South Wales. A ROMP registrar is the pathway to becoming an accredited medical physicist in radiation oncology. My role is to undertake on the job training, to be able to provide management and scientific support for patient treatment and clinical radiotherapy equipment maintenance including treatment planning, radiation safety, radiation dosimetry, and research and development to satisfy the requirements of the Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine (ACPSEM) training education and assessment program (TEAP)."
What did you enjoy most about UWA, and Medical Physics research group?
"I enjoyed all aspects of doing my postgraduate degree at UWA. First, UWA is an especially beautiful campus, the scenery and peacocks make for a nice back drop to your studies. Matilda Bay reserve at walking distance is another bonus.
The medical physics research group is a very supportive community. There are engaging weekly research meetings with supervisors, fellow students and sometimes visiting academics. The discussions at these meetings provide a rich opportunity to develop communication and scientific problem-solving skills.
The best thing about UWA medical physics is that students get access to the radiation oncology department at the Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital with rooms dedicated for students to study and conduct research. Lectures are conducted at the hospital by experienced clinical medical physicists from various hospitals and clinics around Perth which help in building connections and gaining invaluable practical experience through shadowing medical physicists at work."
Can you give us your top three reasons to study Medical Physics?
"Like many, I did not know what I wanted to study after college, but I was passionate about working in the medical sector. I first heard about medical physics from my high school physics teacher. My curiosity at the time led me to the chief medical physicist at my local hospital. He explained the career and took me on a tour around his department and soon, medical physics became my goal.
I chose medical physics because I wanted a career in the medical sector that incorporates my passion for physics, research, and teaching in the field of cancer care. It is a very meaningful field of study that has a direct impact on people’s lives. Also, it is a highly challenging field with appropriate financial remuneration."
How do you feel you have made a difference in your field of research?
"My supervisors and I investigated the effects of using single-energy metal artifact reduction corrected CT images for external beam radiotherapy treatment planning of spine and pelvis cases. Through our research, we demonstrated that SEMAR for treatment planning was dosimetrically comparable to the traditional method of overriding the density of artefact-affected areas, and its incorporation into planning workflow can save a lot of effort and time in contouring and avoid subjectivity in overriding artifacts. Based on this study, SEMAR is adapted to clinical applications at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth."
What is your best advice to current students and Medical Physics applicants?
"My best advice to applicants is to have a good understanding of what the career offers and the pathways to becoming an accredited medical physicist. It is a long journey but certainly one that is rewarding when qualified.
To current students, my recommendation is to shadow medical physicists at work as that clinical experience will help you better understand the course content and is invaluable during registrar interviews. Beyond all, enjoy your time at the university, participate and volunteer in the medical physics community, and make good connections."
Here is Daliya’s recorded final research project presentation.
We wish Daliya all the best in her career and life.
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