Graduate student receives opportunity to perform cancer research in Germany

Graduate student Miguel Flores (left) and Dr. Wesley Culberson (right) stand in front of a research electron linear accelerator in Braunschweig, Germany.

Miguel Flores, a graduate student under the supervision of Dr. Wesley Culberson in the UW Accredited Dosimetry Calibration Laboratory (UWADCL), has been invited to the German national standards lab as a guest scientist for two months to perform research in an exciting new area of cancer treatments called FLASH radiotherapy.

Flores is working on a PhD project to establish better methods to measure doses at ultra-high dose rates on a unique research accelerator at the Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Braunschweig, Germany. Dr. Culberson’s research group has been pursuing multiple areas of FLASH-radiotherapy dosimetry and Miguel is one of several students working on this project. He will be working alongside a well known FLASH therapy physicist named Andreas Schüller who works in the PTB Department 6.2 Dosimetry for Radiation Therapy and Diagnostic Radiology. This electron accelerator is one of the best in the world for this type of research with tunable dose rates and pulse widths for FLASH radiotherapy.

During his time in Germany, Flores will test a hypothesis on how ambient air pressures affect the readings of an ion chamber for FLASH radiotherapy. The tests will be performed with newly engineered equipment utilizing various ion chambers in front of a high-energy electron beam.

Flores started his two months of research in September 2023, and is living on the PTB campus.  The city of Braunschweig, Germany, is in the heart of Germany and offers a wonderful way to experience local German culture. He plans to travel to some nearby cities and countries on the weekends to get a full taste of Europe before returning to Madison in November.