ENGS 167: Medical Imaging

Fall Term 2012


Professor Brian Pogue
Room 132, Cummings Hall

Course Description

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the major aspects of standard medical imaging systems used today. Topics include radiation-interaction, radiation damage and risk, x-ray imaging, computed tomography, image reconstruction and analysis, nuclear medicine, MRI, ultrasound and imaging applications in therapy. The fundamental physics and engineering underlying each imaging modality are reviewed and a performance analysis approach to each system is examined. The class involves significant laboratory work to give the student experience in several different imaging systems available at the Medical Center. Evaluation is based upon written and oral tests, labs, as well as journal club review of research papers and commercial equipment.

Prerequisite Courses

ENGS 92 recommended but not required, or equivalent experience with Fourier Analysis (pending approval)

Laboratory/Assignment Exercises

This class has 7 laboratories/assignments which will be done outside of class hours. The laboratories are tentatively set to be:

  1. Cesium-137 Radiation dosimetry - measuring the irradiator exposure pattern and attenuation through different media.
  2. X-ray Imaging and Analysis - imaging tissues and phantoms with an x-ray fluoroscopy system.
  3. X-ray Mammography imaging - x-ray image a certification phantom and analyze spatial resolution and noise.
  4. Projection Tomography assignment - MATLAB based exercise to work with the radon transform and image reconstruction, and how to analyze resolution versus contrast resolution.
  5. Computed Tomography Laboratory - imaging tissue phantoms with x-ray computed tomography, to test resolution and contrast resolution.
  6. 7Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI(=) - imaging tissue phantoms and rodents in a 7T MRI, analyzing k-space data and transforms to real space images.
  7. 3 Tesla MRI human imaging - Imaging humans with a full body 3T system, examining available pulse sequences and data visualization.

Honor Code

All material handed in for assignments and tests must be entirely your own work. Materials used from other sources must explicitly cite where it came from appropriately, and/or if you worked with someone else on the material this must be stated in writing.

Journal Article Review Sessions

Monthly journal club participation is required. There will be 2 of these sessions total. There will also be two sessions devoted to reviewing companies in medical imaging. The format is that each student reads and summarizes a research paper or literature from a company related to medical imaging, and then presents the summary to the class. Presentation time is restricted to 5-10 minutes, depending upon the class size. Potential journals to select articles are:

  • IEEE Transactions in Medical Imaging
  • IEEE Transactions in Biomedical Engineering
  • Physics in Medicine and Biology
  • Medical Physics
  • Radiology
  • Radiation Research
  • Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys.

Company selections for review will be given out in class, but generally are taken from advertisers in Medical Physics. (Links to these are on the course website.)

Overall Evaluation

  • In class pop quizzes : 5%
  • Labs reports: 40%
  • Mid-term test: 20%
  • Published paper reviews: 15%
  • Final Exam - written & oral parts: 20%

Course Text

The Essential Physics of Medical Imaging, 3rd Edition, Bushberg, Seibert, Leidholdt and Boone. Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012

Additional Resource Texts

  1. Physics of Radiology, 2nd Edition, (2005) by Anthony Brinton Wolbarst, Medical Physics Publishing, Madison Wisconsin.
  2. The Physics of Medical Imaging, S. Webb, Institute of Physics Publishing, 1988.
  3. Christensen's Physics of Diagnostic Radiology by Thomas S. Iii Curry, James E. Dowdey, Robert C., Jr Murry, Lea & Febiger Publishing, 4th edition, 1990.
  4. Introduction to Radiological Physics and Radiation Dosimetry, F. H. Attix, John Wiley and Sons Publishing, 1986.
  5. Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, B. H. Brown, R H Smallwood, D C Barber and D R Hose, Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd., 1999.
  6. The Modern Technology of Radiation Oncology, J. van Dyk, Medical Physics Publishing, 1999.
  7. Radiobiology for the Radiologist, Eric J. Hall, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 5th edition, 2000
  8. Imaging Systems for Medical Diagnostics, Arnulf Oppelt (Editor), Siemens Aktiegesellscharf, Berlin and Munich, Publicis Corp Publishing, Erlangen (2005).

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. describe the major components of most standard medical imaging systems, including radiography, computed tomography, ultrasound, nuclear scintillation and magnetic resonance imaging systems.

  2. interpret radiation biology data quantitatively, to estimate effective equivalent doses, compare killing efficiency, calculate average risk of cancer induction, and estimate legal compliance with radiation exposures to personnel.

  3. measure and estimate x-ray and gamma-ray exposures and doses, and how these influence the imaging system usage, and how the system design affects the exposure per exam.

  4. measure and calculate the system resolution from test-phantom objects in Ultrasound, x-ray radiography and x-ray computed tomography (CT), as well as estimate the -contrast-resolution response of each system.

  5. acquire raw data from a CT scanner such as projection data, or raw k-space data from a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner and compute images the tissue properties, weighted by different factors or filters.


More information about this course can be found on Blackboard. You can login to Blackboard using your DND username and password.