Emily Heath

B.Eng., MSc., PhD.
Adjunct Professor

Department of Physics Carleton University
t. 613-520-2600 x4053
emily.heath@carleton.ca

Specialization

Radiation Therapy, Image Registration, Robust Treatment Plan Optimization, Monte Carlo simulation

Research Projects

My research is concerned with improving the accuracy of radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. This involves identifying different uncertainties in the radiation treatment processes and developing methods to minimize their effect. One current area of research that I am pursuing is the question of how to manage respiratory motion of patients during radiation treatment. In radiation therapy we try to deliver a very high dose of irradiation to the tumour but at the same time it is critical to minimize the dose deposited in surrounding tissues to avoid side effects from the treatment. Organ motion can blur or distort the very conformal dose distributions that are delivered to the patient. For proton therapy and treatment with heavy charged particles, the effects are more severe. With the use of 4D optimization methods and simulations of dynamic dose deliveries we are developing treatment planning methods to account for respiratory motion.

Another area of my research addresses the accuracy of different tools that are used for 4D treatment planning. This includes investigating different approaches to calculating dose in deforming anatomy and also the use of deformable image registration methods in radiation therapy planning.

Selected Publications

E. Heath, F. Tessier and I. Kawrakow Investigation of voxel warping and energy mapping approaches for fast 4D Monte Carlo dose calculations in deformed geometries using VMC++, Phys. Med. Biol. 56 (2011).

E. Heath, J. Unkelbach and U. Oelfke Incorporating uncertainties in respiratory motion into 4D treatment plan optimization, Med. Phys. 36(7) (2009).

E. Heath, D.L. Collins, P.J. Keall, L. Dong and J. Seuntjens, Quantification of accuracy of the Automated Nonlinear Image Matching and Anatomical Labeling (ANIMAL) non-linear registration algorithm for 4D CT images of lung, Med. Phys. 34(11) (2007).

E. Heath and J. Seuntjens, A direct voxel tracking method for four-dimensional Monte Carlo dose calculations in deforming anatomy, Med. Phys. 33(2) (2006).

E. Heath and J.P. Seuntjens, Development and validation of a BEAMnrc component module for accurate Monte Carlo modeling of the Varian dynamic Millennium multileaf collimator, Phys. Med. Biol. 48 (2003).

Funding

  • NSERC Discovery grant

Website

http://www.physics.carleton.ca/people/faculty-members

Group Members

Shahad Al-Ward
Stacy-Lee Annis
Mohsen Ahanj

Research Collaborators

German Cancer Research Center (DFKZ), Heidelberg
Sunnybrook/Odette Cancer Center
Princess Margaret Hospital
BC Cancer Agency

Professional Memberships

American Association of Physicists in Medicine

Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists