Proton therapy may sound like a medical procedure of the future that will become available when there are flying cars, however you might be surprised to find that it is offered at select locations across the United States, including right here in south Florida.
Marjan Shojaei graduated with her Professional Science Master in Medical Physics (PSMMP) from FAU in the fall of 2018 and is currently working at the South Florida Proton Therapy Institute (SFPTI) as a Medical Physicist Assistant. She recently passed the American Board of Radiology exam. SFPTI is a new cancer treatment facility that uses groundbreaking photon and proton therapy to deliver focused beams of radiation to tumors. One of the main benefits of proton therapy is healthy organs and tissues beyond the tumor will not suffer from side effects with the targeted radiation treatments.
As a Medical Physicist Assistant, Marjan will develop and evaluate treatment plans, participate in radiotherapy quality assurance programs, and work on research projects. She works closely with the medical physics and medical dosimetry teams to provide the highest cancer care.
“Our goal when developing proton therapy treatment plans and dosages is to kill the most cancer cells with these charged proton particles while saving all the critical organs surrounding the cancerous tumor. It takes a deep understanding of physics to develop optimal treatments – skin, organs, bones, or other tissues all react differently when irradiated with high energy particles or gamma rays,” says Marjan.
Marjan explains, “I learned all of this in the Medical Physics program in the College of Science. FAU helped me pursue my education and level of knowledge to reach my professional achievements. The Medical Physics program provided an excellent curriculum, research projects, and best practices that prepared me for clinical work to give patients the best quality care.” The PSMMP program develops advanced scientific knowledge and professional skills through its interdisciplinary curriculum and on-site training at partner hospitals. It aims to engage students with professional goals and help them become scientists uniquely suited to the 21st-century workplace.