Senior Medical Physicist

Ihab Caraguli considers physics to be fundamental in gaining scientific understanding of the universe.

Career: Site Senior Medical Physicist at ICON Cancer Centre in Canberra, Australia.
Programme: Bachelor of Technology (Honours) majoring in Medical Physics & Imaging Technologies.

He was lucky to have an aptitude for the sciences at high school and his interests were drawn to the study of medicine.

“I won my school’s physics prize at the end of my secondary school education, and then when I came across medical physics I realised I had found a field that combined both my aptitude and my interests.”

He decided to study physics at university, and was delighted to receive a letter from the Department of Physics at the end of his first year inviting him to enrol in the Medical Physics and Imaging Technologies major.

“The best of my programme was the fusion of physics principles and medical science,” he says.“Experiencing and learning about how the fundamental principles of physics give rise to technologies that can solve real life problems, such as the fight against cancer, is very rewarding.”

After he graduated, Ihab entered a Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Registrar programme.

“I completed a Master of Science in Medical Physics [at the University of Canterbury], followed by a clinical training placement at Wellington Hospital as a Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Registrar."

Currently, Ihab is the Site Senior Medical Physicist at ICON Cancer Centre in Canberra, Australia.

“I am responsible for ensuring that radiotherapy services for the treatment of cancer patients are planned and delivered accurately and safely,” he explains.“As the Radiation Safety Officer, I am also responsible for protecting staff and the public by making sure radiation is used safely and appropriately. My other responsibilities include quality assurance, commissioning of new equipment and techniques as well as research involvement.”

The part of his job he enjoys the most is introducing and commissioning new treatment techniques and technologies that expand and improve the quality of care provided to patients suffering from cancer.

“My work in commissioning the first PET-CT in Far North Queensland and the development of a national portal dosimetry programme was most rewarding.”

Ihab doesn’t doubt for a moment that his qualifications have given him all the necessary foundations to succeed and advance his career.

“Problem-solving is by far the most useful skill that I acquired from studying physics, and knowing about the interaction of radiation with matter is directly related to my current field.”

Ihab thoroughly enjoyed his time at the University of Auckland. While he admits there were often challenges, having engaging lecturers and supervisors, as well as building fantastic friendships with fellow students made it possible to overcome those challenges.

His advice to prospective students is: “If you have an aptitude for science and mathematics or interest in advancing technologies in the world, then Physics is the subject for you.

“Physics principles are applied every day in a wide and varied array of fields, from academic theories that help us understand our universe to practical applications that improve our daily lives.”