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Kirsten Porumb, A Successful UWA Medical Physics Graduate

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

In this post we are going to introduce one of our medical physics graduates, Mrs. Kirsten Porumb.

Kirsten’s undergraduate degree was in Physics and Nanotechnology from Murdoch University. She started her masters at UWA in 2017 and completed her degree in medical physics in 2019. While working on her research project, Kirsten started working at the Department of Medical Technology and Physics at SCGH. She is currently working as a Diagnostic Imaging Medical Physics (DIMP) registrar at South Australian Medical Imaging centre.

Her research project title was: “Identification of short and long lived radioisotope contamination in the stages of [18F] FDG production using gamma spectroscopy” supervised by Prof. Roger Price, Dr Pejman Rowshanfarzad, Ms. Janette Atkinson, Mr. Steven Crossley, Dr. Joseph Ioppolo, and Mr. Ian Bucklow.

Here are some comments from Kirsten’s course coordinator and project co-supervisor Dr. Pejman Rowshan Farzad:

“Kirsten joined our group in 2017. She came over to my office a year before the start of her masters and showed interest in the field of medical physics, especially nuclear medicine.

Soon after Kirsten started her studies, she chose a project at the Medical Technology and Physics (MT&P) department at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH). Her project was on Quality Control of Radiopharmaceuticals. While conducting research at MT&P, she was offered a job at the same department, which was quite beneficial in gaining experience in nuclear medicine.

Kirsten’s performance was very well in both coursework and research. She was able to manage her responsibilities at work and study the advanced level medical physics coursework offered at UWA.

Kirsten’s hard work, experience, and dedication helped her get accepted as a DIMP registrar at SA department of health, which is a highly competitive position. I wish Kirsten all the best in her future endeavours.”

Kirsten has kindly answered a few questions and provided some good advice to new applicants and current students.

Introduction and your current position and role:

Hi my name is Kirsten Porumb. I graduated from UWA masters of Medical Physics in 2019. I have now joined an amazing team in South Australia called South Australian Medical Imaging working as a Medical Physics Registrar.

What did you enjoy most about UWA, and Medical Physics research group?

The medical physics research team is top class. You will not find a more supportive, hands-on and collaborative atmosphere. Once a Medical Physics Research group student- always a Medical Physics Research group student. Pejman and Martin continue to stay in contact, look after and support their students long after graduation. What I enjoy most about the Medical Physics Research team is the support, the lifelong connections I have made and becoming a part of vast network of researchers all passionate about medical physics.

Can you give us your top three reasons to study Medical Physics?

Whenever I get asked why I decided to pursue physics as a career my answer is because I was inspired by a high school physics teacher. Physics has a way of attracting a certain type of inquisitive thinker. To take that even further in terms of medical physics, my inspiration came from two things. First, was in the last year of my BSc I went on the AINSE winter school Scholarship program to ANSTO. This is where I heard of Medical physics for the first time. I saw first-hand the amazing research and what medical physics has to offer. Secondly, after meeting Pejman for the first time, when I was interested in enrolling into the masters of medical physics program, he inspired me much like my high school teacher. Pejman has a deep passion for medical physics and truly cares about his students. To have a knowledgeable and supportive teacher is the true successful foundation of the course. Pejman’s students don’t just walk out of UWA with a degree they walk out with a true passion and a lifelong love for their future in the medical physics field.

How do you feel you have made a difference in your field of research?

Medical Physicists are the silent heroes. A lot of the work we do is behind the scenes and most of the general public has never heard of medical physics before. Medical Physicist are constantly improving cancer treatment and radiation safety where ever they are and no matter what they do. Before working for SAMI I worked for the Medical Technology and Physics group at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. This is where I obtained my compliance tester licence. By testing equipment as part of the Quality Assurance program I feel I have improve patient safety and quality of care in Western Australia.

What is your best advice to current students and Medical Physics applicants?

Medical Physics can take you places but you have to be willing to follow. Students have two main options after graduating. They are to either begin a PhD or get into the TEAP program. For those students that would like to get into the TEAP program, these opportunities are few and far between and you need to be willing to move interstate. I am originally from Perth but have moved to Adelaide to pursue the TEAP program pathway.

Here is Kirsten’s recorded final research project presentation.

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Twitter: @MedicalUwa


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