Ewa Oponowicz - I am and I will

My name is Ewa Oponowicz and I come from Poland. In 2009, having to decide on my future plans, I hesitated between choosing technical education and studying medicine. It was just as important for me to keep developing technical skills, as to have tangible impact on our health. This is how I chose to do my Bachelor’s in biomedical engineering at Warsaw University of Technology. My Bachelor’s thesis was on radiotherapy machines and brought me for the first time into the field of medical accelerators.

I then decided to take part in a couple of international programs, including Erasmus exchange at Engineering School in St Etienne, France, as well as Double Degree Programme in Engineering School in Nantes, France. My Master thesis was on software development for an antiproton machine at CERN.

In 2016 I applied for the fellow position within Optimisation of Medical Accelerators, European Union network, and was accepted as a PhD student at the University of Manchester in the UK.

I am a PhD student and I will improve precision of imaging techniques in particle therapy

The main goal of my project is to design a gantry, i.e. beam transfer line which rotates around the patient during irradiation. Not only will the gantry be used for treatment, but also for more precise imaging (proton computed tomography). Employing superconducting technology in this beam delivery system allows it to be of comparable size to a conventional proton therapy gantry.

This project is mainly done in cooperation with the recently opened proton beam therapy centre at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, where the first patient was treated in December 2018. Moreover, I have a chance to collaborate with scientists at Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland - one of the first proton therapy centres in Europe, which have used proton therapy gantries in clinics since 1996.