James Hunt, a successful UWA Medical Physics graduate with a clear vision
Updated: Jun 7, 2022
In this post we are introducing one of our masters graduates, James Hunt.
James started Master of Medical Physics in 2019 after completing a Diploma in Science (Physics) and a Bachelor of Engineering.
His research project was on “Variation in isocentre location of an Elekta Unity MR-linac through full gantry rotation” supervised by Dr. Hans L Riis, Adj/Prof. Martin Ebert, and Dr. Pejman Rowshanfarzad.
The project was on quality assurance of MR-linacs and its results were published in one of the leading Medical Physics journals. This study was carried out for the first time globally and was highly valued by the main manufacturer of this radiotherapy treatment machine.
James started his professional career as a radiation safety physicist at Iluka while he was still in the masters program, then started a part-time job as scientific officer at GenesisCare WA. James is currently a Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Registrar at GenesisCare Adelaide.
Here is what James’s masters coordinator, lecturer, and principal supervisor, Dr. Pejman Rowshanfarzad, had to say about his performance: “James was a high achiever and performed well in masters units and his final project. James was active both in and out of the class. He always managed to meet the deadlines of our difficult assignments and performed well in all exams. He completed his research in two semesters, which is an exceptional achievement considering the high quality of his project outcome. James was self-motivated and did not need much research supervision.
He published his research project outcome in Physics in Medicine and Biology journal. I am happy with the quality of his work. He managed to accomplish everything I asked him. James showed excellent ability to apply his physics knowledge into solving practical problems of his research project. He is an excellent programmer and has great image processing skills which are advantageous for a modern-day medical physicist.
James has great communication skills and is very polite with a good sense of humour. His positive attitude makes him a likable person”.
And here are comments from James’s research supervisor, and lecturer Adj/Prof. Martin Ebert:
“James had a very mature outlook, and this was reflected in his attitude to the master’s program – he had decided that a medical physics career was for him and he threw himself wholeheartedly into the program. James took on a very novel research project – one involving the assessment of the accuracy of MR-equipped linear accelerators. This was so novel that there were only two “MR-linacs” in Australia when James started his project, with these both on the other side of the country! James was able to utilise our very strong collaboration with the University of Odense in Denmark to source measured data, with James in turn providing the required data analysis. This synergy enabled new results to be derived on the precision of MR-linacs and we were very pleased that James was rewarded with a publication in Physics in Medicine and Biology.
I am always grateful to be able to interact with students with the capabilities and attitude of James and to help them along on their journey to becoming practicing clinical physicists. I’m confident James will go on to make some magnificent contributions to improving the lives of patients, while engaging in a career he loves”.
James kindly accepted to answer a few questions about his experience in the UWA Medical Physics Research Group.
Introduction and your current position and role:
My name is James, I started my higher education with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, but found that career unfulfilling so returned to study my Master of Medical Physics. I’ve loved every minute of it and never looked back!
After graduating in 2021, I’m now a Radiation Oncology Medical Physicist (ROMP) Registrar with GenesisCare SA. In my 6 weeks working here in Adelaide, I have been given a lot of responsibility, and I have been made to feel so welcome as part of the team. I have lots of educational opportunities, which is great because there’s a lot to learn before I’m fully qualified!
What did you enjoy most about UWA, and Medical Physics research group?
I enjoyed feeling like I was contributing to a field that was really important. Our work and our research have real benefits for cancer patients, which is really important to me.
What really made my time at UWA special was how much the whole Medical Physics team felt like a family. The amount of care and effort (and expectations) from the teaching staff was phenomenal, and really made me feel like this was the correct career choice for me.
Before starting post-grad, I got a lot of warnings from friends in other departments that research is cut-throat, difficult and stressful. The UWA Medical Physics Research Group was the opposite.
Can you give us your top three reasons to study Medical Physics?
Medical Physics is a great field if you have a natural affinity for maths and physics. We have complex equations, cutting-edge technology, and a deep understanding of how things work.
If you love working with computers, you won’t be disappointed. If you like graphics, image processing, coding, designing user-friendly interfaces, or advanced fields like machine learning, you’ll be able to find it in Medical Physics. Especially machine learning.
If you want to use your abilities to help people, what better way than to enter healthcare? Cancer will sadly affect all of us, but with Medical Physics we improve outcomes for cancer patients every day, through both diagnosis and treatment.
How do you feel you have made a difference in your field of research?
My Masters thesis quantified the precision of a brand new technology, MRI-guided radiotherapy, which has the ability to image patients during their treatment and adjust treatment accuracy in real-time. My research added to the pool of academic knowledge that we rely on as physicists.
What is your best advice to current students and Medical Physics applicants?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from Pejman and your fellow students, you’re there as part of a team, and we work best by supporting each other. Same goes for under-grad, too. No matter what you do career-wise, learning to be a good team member, including having the confidence to ask for help when you need it, is one of the most valuable lessons you can gain from uni.
James published paper is available here:
Variation in isocentre location of an Elekta Unity MR-linac through full gantry rotation, Phys. Med. Biol. 67 (2022) 015005, https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6560/ac4564
Here is James’s recorded final research project presentation.
We wish James all the best in his career and life.
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