PhD Opportunity: Towards uncertainty-driven treatment planning in radiotherapy

The University of Bath is inviting applications for a 4-year fully funded PhD studentship commencing in March 2024

The primary aim of modern radiotherapy is to administer a highly localised dose of radiation to the tumour, whilst minimising harm to adjacent healthy tissue. This delicate balance offers the optimal chance of eradicating cancer whilst mitigating adverse side-effects. Technological advancements are quickly elevating the level of precision in radiotherapy. However, this heightened precision increases the treatment susceptibility to an array of uncertainties, both physical and biological, which are often not considered in a holistic manner.

Considerable biological uncertainties stem from the individual variability in patient sensitivity to radiation. Meanwhile, physical uncertainties, often overlooked as negligible, can significantly skew treatment outcomes. The susceptibility to these uncertainties also differs depending on the type of radiotherapy and the anatomical site undergoing treatment.

The existing state-of-the-art lacks a unified protocol for managing these diverse sources of uncertainty, as well as an established set of metrics for their assessment. This project aims to address this shortfall by developing a robust mathematical framework for the quantification of uncertainties in radiotherapy treatment planning. Utilising advanced mathematical models and data science methodologies, we aim to quantify the personalised impact of both physical and biological uncertainties.

The overarching goal of this PhD project, supervised by Dr Tristan Pryer and in collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory,  is to amalgamate these disparate uncertainties into a singular, physics-based data-driven model that can guide the creation of high-precision, minimally invasive, and maximally effective personalised treatment plans. The mathematical formalism to be developed will offer a comprehensive guideline for incorporating various uncertainties into a cohesive strategy for treatment planning, thus improving the likelihood of achieving superior clinical outcomes.

For further information, including entry requirements and funding information please visit the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Bath’s website

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Dr Tristan Pryer via Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application portal for a PhD in Mathematics.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here

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