DGMP Annual Meeting: The PTW sponsored Dietrich Harder Master’s Thesis Prize to be awarded LIVE

PTW is recognizing and promoting scientific endeavour in the field of medical physics with the Dietrich Harder Master’s Thesis Award. This year the prize can – at long last – be awarded in person again.

After the two virtual events, which took place in 2020 and 2021, the medical physics community gets together again face to face from 21st to 24th September 2022 to mark the 53rd Annual Meeting of the German Society for Medical Physics DGMP (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Physik). At this year’s venue in Aachen – as in pre-pandemic times – over 800 medical physics experts will come together to participate in meetings and lectures. PTW will present itself along with its products at the industry exhibition and will host a lunch symposium on artificial intelligence in radiation therapy on 22 September 2022. The Dietrich Harder Master’s Thesis Prize will be awarded live at the event. PTW has sponsored this award since 2016, the aim of which is to support and promote the work of students in the field of medical radiation physics. The prize is accompanied with a 1,000 Euro award. “Supporting the young medical physicists and their ideas is very important to us. We are even happier to be handing the prize over in person this year and as such we are able to express our appreciation”, explains Dr Christian Pychlau, managing director of PTW.

In the past two previous years, the Master’s Thesis Prize could only be presented virtually since the DGMP annual meeting took place digitally. That however does not make the winners’ - Elias Eulig in 2020 and Hendrik Brehmer in 2021 – achievements any less worthy.

2020: Reconstruction of Interventional Tools using Deep Neural Networks (Deep Learning)

Elias Eulig wrote his master thesis titled “Towards Four-Dimensional Tomographic Interventional Guidance: Prior-Free Reconstruction of Interventional Tools from Four X-Ray Projections using Deep Neural Networks (Deep Learning)” at the German Center for Cancer Research (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. In his work he developed a new method, based on deep learning, to reconstruct interventional tools, such as guide wires, stents and coils using just a few x-ray projections. Euler’s approach could be capable of overcoming the drawbacks of current interventional guidance by providing full spatiotemporal information about the interventional tools, and as such could make it possible to develop new minimally invasive radiological interventions.

Elias Eulig, MSc., studied physics at Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg, where he achieved his Master in Physics in 2020. Since 2021 he has been a PhD student in X-ray imaging and computed tomography at the DKFZ in Heidelberg.

2021: Influence of a variable RBW in proton beams

Hendrik Brehmer authored his master thesis at the Technical University of Dresden. In his thesis, titled "Analysis of LET and RBW in risk organs of proton therapy for brain tumours", he investigated the potential effects of dose exposure on various organs at risk under the assumption of a variable instead of a constant relative biological effectiveness (RBW). The basis of this was the consideration that the linear energy transfer (LET) of protons, which is known to increase at the distal edge of the proton beam, could lead to the surrounding organs at risk being exposed to a larger biological dose than was previously assumed. In order to quantify this, he retrospectively simulated the treatment plans of 78 brain tumour patients using a Monte Carlo algorithm and quantified LET and RBW. Based on this, he estimated the effects on side-effect probabilities (NTCP) using various models. With the assumption of an increased RBW dose, a significantly higher NTCP can be predicted for some organs, in particular for the pituitary gland. Brehmer’s work highlights the limitations of the models currently used and provides a basis for optimizing clinical planning and future research with regard to establishing a variable RBW.

Hendrik Brehmer, MSc., studied physics at the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena and attained his Master’s degree in 2020 in the subject of “Medical Radiation Sciences” at the Technical University of Dresden. Since December 2020 he has been working as a medical physicist in Nuclear Medicine at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin.

In 2019 the “PTW-Dosimetry Prize” sponsored by PTW was renamed the “Dietrich-Harder Master’s Thesis Award" in honour of the deceased medical physicist and professor. With this prize PTW and the DGMP acknowledge excellent achievements of Master’s students in the subject of radiation physics. Further information about the prize is available on the DGMP’s website.

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