Calyn completed his PhD last semester and moved to Sydney to start clinical training at Westmead Hospital. His thesis title was:  “Spatial dose-response models of rectal toxicities for patients undergoing prostate radiotherapy“.

Calyn Moulton

Calyn was one of our most talented, resourceful and capable students who worked tirelessly on his PhD project. Here is what his principal supervisor, Prof. Martin Ebert, has to say about him:

“Calyn’s double degree could have seen him entering the lucrative world of economics, but instead he recognised the value of contributing his skills to developing solutions in medicine and became an honours student in Medical Physics at UWA. Following this, and after a stint in the radiation health industry, Calyn returned to undertake his PhD. We were able to offer him a role in analysing data generated during the largest ever clinical trial of radiotherapy for prostate cancer in Australasia. His project involved relating large quantities of complex data for patients (approximately 100 megabytes per patient) to the side-effects those patients experienced following their treatments. This required meticulous attention to detail, something at which Calyn excels. He was able to tackle the problem from several different avenues, using methods to manipulate images and advanced biostatistics, to generate new results that describe how the patients’ treatments influenced the side-effects they experienced. His work involved collaborating with clinicians and physicists throughout Australasia and internationally. We were extremely pleased with the quality of the work Calyn undertook – with the results he obtained which will impact the practice of radiotherapy internationally – and grateful for his decision to undertake his PhD with our group. We are very proud of his achievement and that he is now contributing further through his work in clinical radiotherapy physics.”

Calyn kindly accepted to answer our questions about his experience as a PhD candidate in our group:

Introduction and your current position and role:
From 2012 to 2017 I was a PhD student at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in the Medical Physics research group with supervision from Professor Martin Ebert, Associate Professor Mike House, Professor Tim St Pierre and Assistant Professor Pejman Rowshanfarzad. Towards the end of the PhD I moved to Sydney to start working as a medical physics registrar at the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre (Westmead Hospital), which was a great opportunity given the experience and resources available at Westmead Hospital. The role required me to enrol in the Radiation Oncology Medical Physicist Training Education and Assessment Program (ROMP TEAP) overseen by the ACPSEM. Additionally, I have to concurrently complete university coursework accredited by the ACPSEM as I did not pursue all the required units during the PhD. The role involves ongoing training and competency assessment by qualified ROMPs against the TEAP clinical training guide which will take 3-5 years to complete at the same time as the coursework. The PhD and subsequent registrar position have been a great way to learn radiation oncology medical physics as you get practical and research experience in many areas such as treatment planning, radiation biology, treatment side effects, dosimetry, radiation surveys, quality assurance, commissioning of linear accelerators, etc.

What did you enjoy most about UWA, and Medical Physics research group?
The PhD wasn’t my first experience of UWA as I completed a double degree and honours at UWA before working as a health physicist in Melbourne. I chose to return to UWA to undertake a PhD with the same supervisor I had for my honours as the past and present physics staff/students have established a great culture. The Medical Physics research group at UWA provides experienced supervision whilst giving you the freedom to approach your research in a way you think will produce the best results. I enjoyed most the interesting discussions with medical physics researchers/students on a variety of topics as it kept my mind fresh.

Can you give us your top three reasons to study Medical Physics?
1. Help patients. You can influence the quality of life of cancer patients with science, and many registrars have crossed disciplines from other physics areas for satisfaction you get from the seeing the impact of your work in a clinic.
2. A friendly diverse culture. The medical physics community is becoming more diverse in ideas and backgrounds as theoretical and experimental physicists have happily joined the field in pursuit of a practical application that helps others.
3. The many pathways after study. Studying medical physics keeps your opportunities open as you can become a physics registrar at a hospital, a health physicist dealing with radiation safety at a consultancy company/regulator or a researcher at a university.

How do you feel you have made a difference in your field of research?
The projects offered by the Medical Physics research group at UWA are well regarded by the larger medical physics community. My PhD involved spatially registering two phases of prostate cancer treatment (external beam radiotherapy and high-dose-rate brachytherapy) and then relating the total registered dose to post-treatment rectal complications. The spatial dose-response models I developed could be used in the future to better plan radiotherapy in terms of improving post-treatment quality of life for prostate cancer patients. Registering external beam radiotherapy and high-dose-rate brachytherapy was a difficult task and the subsequent publications are the first studies to relate total registered dose to toxicities observed after combined external beam radiotherapy/high-dose-rate brachytherapy.

What is your best advice to current students and Medical Physics applicants?
Work hard but set aside time for a hobby. Motivate yourself with thoughts of how the hard work will make a difference and how it will lead to a future position you will enjoy long-term. You will be competing with other students/applicants for jobs so think about what you can do with projects or extra-curricular activities that will make you stand out in an interview. Remember to enjoy and make the most opportunities as timing is difficult to control and regrets tend to grow with age.

 

Here is a list of Calyn’s publications during his PhD at UWA:

1- C. R. Moulton, M. J. House, V. Lye, C. I. Tang, M. Krawiec, D. J. Joseph, J. W. Denham, and M. A. Ebert. Registering prostate external beam radiotherapy with a boost from high-dose-rate brachytherapy: a comparative evaluation of deformable registration algorithms. Radiat. Oncol., vol. 10, p. 254, 2015.

2- C. R. Moulton, M. J. House, V. Lye, C. I. Tang, M. Krawiec, D. J. Joseph, J. W. Denham, and M. A. Ebert. Accumulation of rectum dose-volume metrics for prostate external beam radiotherapy combined with brachytherapy: evaluating deformably-registered dose distribution addition using parameter-based addition. J. Med. Imaging Radiat. Oncol., DOI: 10.1111/1754-9485.12593.

3- C. R. Moulton, M. J. House, V. Lye, C. I. Tang, M. Krawiec, D. J. Joseph, J. W. Denham, and M. A. Ebert. Prostate external beam radiotherapy combined with high-dose-rate brachytherapy: dose-volume parameters from deformably-registered plans correlate with late gastrointestinal complications. Radiat. Oncol., vol. 11, p. 144, 2016.

4- C. R. Moulton, M. J. House, V. Lye, C. I. Tang, M. Krawiec, A. Kennedy, D. J. Joseph, J. W. Denham, and M. A. Ebert. Parameter estimates for the Lyman-Kutcher-Burman model of late rectal toxicities observed after two prostate radiotherapy techniques in an Australian and New Zealand trial. Submitted, 2016.

5- C. R. Moulton, M. J. House, V. Lye, C. I. Tang, M. Krawiec, D. J. Joseph, J. W. Denham, and M. A. Ebert. Spatial features of dose-surface maps from deformably-registered plans correlate with late gastrointestinal complications. Phys. Med. Biol., vol. 62, pp. 4118-4139, 2017.

We wish Dr. Moulton all the best in his current and future positions.

New-UWA_MedPhys_LOGO_2015How to apply for UWA Medical Physics Program

 

2 Comments

  • Amandeep Chahal says:

    hi
    I have completed my Masters in medical physics from University of Wollongong NSW. Its been 1 year of my graduation still icould not find any job. Is the job sector is competitive or i need to pursue Phd? To get a good job

    • uwamedicalphysics says:

      Hi Amandeep,
      Having a PhD does not guarantee a job. You need to find out why you haven’t been accepted. It may have to do with the quality of your research project, your courses and marks, or simply your interviews.
      UWA graduates have done well in job hunting at both Masters and PhD levels.

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