Medical Physics

Research area

Over the past 20 years, research and development in medical physics has improved the accuracy and conformity of radiotherapy tremendously. This includes the development of intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), which allows the delivery of highly conformal dose distributions to complex shaped tumors. More recently, the development of image guided adaptive radiotherapy has provided means to correct for geometric changes and organ motion over the course of therapy. The medical physics group contributes to these technological advances of radiotherapy through both clinically applied and fundamental research projects. We focus on 3 areas of research:

  1. Radiotherapy treatment planning: We conduct research on mathematical optimization methods for radiotherapy planning to further improve treatment planning systems. This includes both X-ray therapy as well as proton therapy.
  2. Target delineation and outcome prediction: Here, we focus on quantitative analysis of medical images such as MRI, CT and PET, with the goal of precisely defining the region to be irradiated and predicting the patient's response to treatment.
  3. Adaptive radiotherapy: We further develop state-of-the-art systems to correct for motion of the tumor. Our department will be first in Switzerland to install a MRI-Linac, a combination of MRI scanner and radiotherapy device. In addition, we work on methods to compensate for tumor motion using counter-motion of the treatment table.

For further information on ongoing research projects, please visit our USZ website. Please contact Jan Unkelbach at if you are interested in a Master or PhD thesis in our group.

Current master thesis projects

Currently we are looking for Master student for the following project:

Dose re-calculation for radiotherapy considering tumor motion



In radiotherapy, tumors are treated with high energy radiation. Motion of the tumor during the therapy is considered in a safety margin. This safety margin enlarges the treatment volume to ensure coverage of the tumor with sufficient radiation dose, but also more healthy tissue is irradiated due to the safety margin. With post-treatment dose calculation, the dose to moving tissues, as the prostate for example, could be calculated. Doing so, the radiation dose of the treatment day including the motion of the prostate could be evaluated. Further, a study on the actually required safety margin could be performed, based on the re-calculated dose including the actual tumor motion during the treatment. This might allow to reduce the motion safety margins and spare healthy tissue from radiation.

Your contribution

You will implement an dose re-calculation workflow at the University Hospital Zurich to include the effect of motion. You will perform a study on dose coverage of prostate tumors and its dependence on the safety margin and tumor motion.

Your profile

You are interested in radiotherapy and would like to work in a multi-disciplinary environment. Your study focus is on radiotherapy, radiation physics or particle physics. You like programming and already have some experience from prior projects.