Professor Peter Greer

Research Program:
HMRI Award for Early Career Research
2010 HMRI Award for Early Career Research
Scholarship
2010 Scholarship
Project Grant
2003 Project Grant

What are your research interests?

My major interests are in improving the accuracy and safety of radiotherapy treatments, which 50% of cancer patients should receive. My work is particularly focused on improving imaging for planning treatments to better define the targets for treatment and for verifying that the treatments are delivered accurately and safely. To do this we apply physics, engineering and mathematical principles to develop better technology and techniques for cancer treatments.

Why did you get into research?

My first exposure to research was doing a Masters thesis. This was in opthalmology measuring the light reflected from the human retina to design instruments to detect visual defects in pre-verbal infants. I was immediately hooked on research, the ability to do things that have never been tried before, the satisfaction of seeing your work published and to make a difference to patient care.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

My major focus is on translating the work we do to other treatment centres and patients in general for improved care. This is through multi-centre studies and working with vendors. My future focus is to continue to produce high quality work and to have this work actually contributing to improved patient care. To have made a significant contribution to radiotherapy treatments for both local people and further afield.

Biography

Professor Greer was awarded his PhD in medical physics in 2001 and has worked as a clinical medical physicist before developing a research career. He has received substantial research funding including four NHMRC project grants. He has received several awards including Early Career Researcher of the Year from the Hunter Medical Research Institute, the top award for early career medical research in the region. He holds a full-time position leading medical physics research at the Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital and University of Newcastle and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Hunter Cancer Research Alliance.

Professor Greer has been conducting research to improve radiation therapy planning with MRI. In collaboration with CSIRO Biomedical Imaging Research Group at the Australian E-Health Research Centre he has developed the first atlas-based deformable image registration method to map electron densities to pelvic MRI scans for dose calculations. This pioneering work has been conducted with the Calvary Mater 3T MRI scanner and dedicated radiation oncology scanning equipment. This will lead to the use of MRI scans directly for radiation oncology prostate planning and adaptive treatment. There is currently great international interest in using MRI alone as an improved workflow in radiation oncology to reduce uncertainties in the planning of treatments and reduce patient and health system burdens. He has been invited to present this research at the European ESTRO Forum Meeting.

He has also developed the world's first system to monitor patient dose in real time during treatment using imaging devices. This represents a major step forward in patient safety to make sure that errors in delivery are detected before substantial dose is delivered. This multi-centre project led from Newcastle received funding from the American Society for Radiation Oncology and has received several awards. Participating centres include Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre and the University of Virginia.

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • expertise in image acquisition
  • image processing
  • mathematical modelling
  • MRI
  • CT
  • radiation transport
  • dose calculation
  • quality assurance
  • software development

Affiliations

2010

Award for Early Career Research - Peter Greer
HMRI Award for Early Career Research
Researchers:
Investigation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Prostate Radiation Therapy Planning
Scholarship
Researchers:

Mr Jonathan Lambert, Dr Peter Greer 

2003

Production of diagnostic quality x-rays
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Martin Ebert, Dr Peter Geer