Rebecca Thornley

Rebecca Thornley

I am starting a job as a trainee medical physicist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in September. The knowledge I obtained from this course helped me greatly in the interview process for this scheme.

I chose to come to the University of Leeds to study Medical Imaging MSc as after studying Physics at undergraduate level I became interested in the medical applications of physics so was looking for a course that would allow me to explore this. I liked the variety of modules offered by the course at Leeds, they covered a wide range of topics to suit a variety of backgrounds. Some modules e.g. forensic imaging offered an insight into an area of medical imaging I had never had the opportunity to learn about before. I also liked the feel of the campus and the university as a whole, it felt friendly and inviting. There were lots of shared spaces around the university which looked like great places to both work and socialise. 

I enjoyed being taught by lots of different academics and professionals who could offer perspectives on a topic eg academics, medical physicists, radiologists, radiographer etc. This made the modules really interesting and engaging. I also enjoyed studying alongside people of different background eg dental students, medical students, radiographers etc as everybody had their own unique insight into the field.

The highlights of the course have been the excellent teaching across modules and the support received from the module leads. I’ve also really enjoyed the opportunities to see the imaging equipment in action eg visiting the MRI department at LGI, using ultrasound scanners on phantoms.

For me, the greatest challenge was learning how to write essays in an academic style. Having a physics background, I was not used to producing substantial pieces of writing so this was a skill I had to learn. The core skills module was particularly useful for overcoming this.

My project is titled ‘Multi-parametric MRI for radiotherapy planning and treatment evaluation in glioblastoma’. It has involved the analysis of MRI data acquired from 6 patients pre-treatment (post-surgery), during radiotherapy treatment (after 10 fractions) and six weeks post-treatment. This data includes T1 and T2 measures, diffusion and dynamic contrast-enhanced images in addition to conventional MRI data (T1-weighted, T2-weighted and FLAIR. I have been analysing the dataset using commercial and local software in order to assess the response of Glioblastoma to radiotherapy.

Doing a research project will benefit me in the future as I will have the opportunity to get involved in similar research projects during my job as a trainee medical physicist, so I will be able to apply the research skills I have obtained from this course directly to my job.

I’ve enjoyed studying in all the different libraries the university has to offer, there are plenty of quiet spaces and spaces dedicated to group work. The online library tools are also really useful, giving access to lots of different journals and even helping with essay writing eg referencing hints and tips.

The medical imaging course at Leeds is well structured and provides a background to all the basic imaging modalities as well as giving you the opportunity to look into more specialised techniques or areas specific to your background/workplace. The course/module leaders are all very knowledgeable, friendly and approachable which makes for a supportive learning environment.