Cross Talks #2 – TOF-PET: The Challenges of Proton Therapy

Cross Talks is a podcast series by the UT Austin Portugal Program that will walk you through the wonders of science-business collaboration. Monthly, we will be exploring emerging topics in the areas of Advanced Computing, Medical Physics, Nanotechnologies and Space-Earth Interactions as we delve into the Program’s ground-breaking industry-driven research projects, selected through the 2019 Strategic Research Project Call.

In our second episode, the Program engages in a 20-minute conversation with Stefaan Tavernier (PETsys electronics, Portugal) and Karol Lang (University of Texas at Austin, USA) about the advantages and disadvantages of proton therapy in relation to other existing therapies, its challenges as well as the TOF-PET project’s envisioned solution.

Stefaan Tavernier has spent most of his scientific career developing detectors, mainly for particle physics. In recent years he has become more and more involved in medical plications of technologies derived from particle physics. In 2010 he retired as full professor at the University of Brussels, and founded the company PETsys electronics together with Prof João Varela from IST Lisbon. The company PETsys electronics S.A, is providing electronics to many of the major research institutes in the world, from China to the US. PETsys Electronics S.A is currently helping in the development of the new PET scanner, the main expected outcome of the TOF-PET project.

Karol Lang is an experimental particle physicist and Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Texas at Austin. Prof. Lang conducts research on neutrinos by studying phenomena of neutrino oscillations and by searching for neutrinoless double beta decays that, if observed, would reveal the Majorana nature of neutrinos. The TOF-PET project is a spinoff of this research. The development of PET scanner is benefitting from UT’s group experience and expertise in building state-of-the-art particle detectors.  Prof. Lang strongly believes and supports education through research so several students participate in the TOF-PET project and gain hands-on experience with all aspects of the project.

Presented by Sheila Góis Habib and produced by Andreia Passos (UT Austin Portugal’s Executive Director), Catarina Carvalho and Sheila Góis Habib (UT Austin Portugal’s Communication Team – PT Office).

Listen to the podcast below.