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Research Associate in Very High Energy Electron Radiotherapy (VHEE): X-Band Band Machine Design and Dose Delivery

The University of Manchester - Accelerator, Nuclear and Particle Physic

Location: Manchester
Salary: £32,236 to £39,609 per annum (according to relevant experience)
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 15th March 2019
Closes: 15th April 2019
Job Ref: S&E-13368

We seek a highly qualified candidate to work on machine optimisation and dose studies for VHEE treatment, a potential new paradigm in radiotherapy. This exciting area of research will be conducted at the University of Manchester and the Cockcroft Institute, within the context of a strong collaboration with Elekta, the Christie NHS Trust and CERN.

VHEE radiotherapy (in the energy range of ~100 to 250 MeV) is remarkably range-insensitive and hence it is particularly applicable in the lung and bowel regions for example. It also has the potential to be significantly cheaper than several extant radiotherapies in use at present, and will allow rapid delivery of dose –as limited mechanical motion is envisaged in a system consisting of electromagnetically steered e-beams. VHEE has the potential for extremely rapid and large dose delivery to cancerous tissue. It is also able to take advantage of recent in vivo FLASH studies – in which a high dose is delivered to tissue extremely rapidly –allowing complete eradication of lung tumours for example and concurrent reduction in the occurrence and severity of early and late complications affecting normal tissue.

The Postdoctoral Research Associate will be focussed on studying the practicalities of machine design –with intensive work in the area of modelling high gradient cavities and also on the associated beam dynamics. Start-to-end simulations will entail integrating both low and high energy beam dynamics with a view to delivering a relativistic beam which can be rapidly scanned and focussed. This will be the first design of a VHEE system. The candidate will be required to also ensure the dose delivery is properly taken into account by performing Monte-Carlo-based simulations to track the path of charged particles within various media and patient-suitable phantoms.

The machine design studies will involve:

  • Design of an overall VHEE radiotherapy machine.
  • Design of high gradient cavities with a view to achieving 250 MeV at a gradient of ~100 Me/m.
  • Assessing the beam current and switching needed to achieve rapid delivery of high charge (compatible with FLASH radiotherapy).
  • Modelling the beam transport from gun through the entire machine to delivery to appropriate phantoms.
  • A suitable lattice design will be investigated.
  • Close integration with the Elekta and the Cockcroft Institute/ASTeC staff to assess a practical machine design.

The dose studies will entail:

  • Verification of dose simulations on experimental phantoms –with an emphasis on absolute dose measurement.
  • Engaging in a treatment planning study with a view to highlighting advantages –focussing on rapid FLASH delivery, relative insensitivity to inhomogeneities, and dose conformity.

Summary of the Overall Role

The successful candidate will be expected to make major contributions to the ongoing vibrant VHEE programme of the group making experiments at VELA/CLARA, and to enhance the strong collaborations ongoing (with Elekta, CERN and the Christie NHS Trust), with developing collaborations (at NPL in particular) and foster additional collaborations. In addition, the practicalities of developing a VHEE machine for patient treatment in the short-term and medium-term will be a significant goal of this work.  The results of this research will be published in peer-reviewed journals.

Enquiries about vacancy shortlisting and interviews:

Name: Roger Jones


General enquiries:


Tel: 0161 275 4499

Technical support:


Tel: 0161 850 2004

This vacancy will close for applications at midnight on the closing date

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