Close Menu

Medical Physics

About Us

Medical physics is a branch of physics concerned with the application of physics to medicine, particularly in the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. The main areas of interest are in the treatment of cancer by ionizing radiation (radiation oncology), in diagnostic imaging with x rays, ultrasound and nuclear magnetic resonance (diagnostic radiology), in diagnostic imaging with radionuclides (nuclear medicine) and in the study of radiation hazards and radiation protection (health physics).
Medical physics courses were first offered at the UWI, Mona in 2008. In 2009, following the installation of new equipment sponsored under an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) project, the programme was expanded into a major and a minor within the Department of Physics.
UWI-Mona Department of Physics Mona offers an undergraduate major (BSc) in Medical Physics, Biomedical Radiation Sciences, a Master of Science (MSc) and a graduate diploma (Dip.) in Medical Physics and Clinical Medical Physics.
There are also numerous research opportunities in our Radioecological research Lab. The medical physics courses and research projects are designed to complement the quality of health care services offered in Jamaica. Students are exposed to state- of- the art equipment that assesses physiological measurements which includes heart rate, lead levels in blood and bone density. Current research projects seek to address local health problems such as heavy metal toxicity and radiation hazards and monitoring.

Radiecological Lab - Facilities

Equipment Description Sampling
Niton XL3t Handheld XRF Analyser Qualitative elemental analysis of solid samples. Can detect elements with atomic number higher than that of sodium. Soil, Dust wipes, Metal surfaces, any solid surface
Radon/Thoron detection system- Rad7 Detector Quantitative Analysis of Radon 222 and Radon 220 (Thoron) levels         using real-time detection and analysis of an alpha spectrum, identifying them based on their signature peaks. Air, Soil (in-situ), Water (in-situ) and water (in-vitro)
ADInstruments PowerLab 15T with Human Physiology Kit

A combination of interchangeable sensors allowing recording of 3 sensors to be done simultaneously.



Blood pressure

AccuDEXA 7100 BMD Assessment System A system that uses DEXA to determine bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) in the phalanges (fingers). Can be used to determine bone fracture probability.  
QuarkNet Cosmic Ray Muon Detector 600 with 4 flat Scintillation Detectors (8” x 11” x ¾”) Detection of secondary particles due to interaction of Muon beams with the atmosphere using scintillators and photomultiplier tubes. Air
Canberra - Gamma Spectrometry (Research system) System continuously measures the frequency and energy level of each gamma particle, creating a energy spectrum of incident gamma radiation. This can be used to determine the nature of the emitting source. Soil, food, water
Audiometric testing system Portable & non-portable system allows determination of hearing threshold (minimum sound intensity a person is sensitive to) for frequencies in range of 125hz-8000Hz. Using air conduction or bone conduction.  


Research Activities


Radiation and Health

Evaluation of Jamaican background radiation profile 

    • Cosmic rays
    • Consumer electronics, cell phones
    • Food/Drink
    • Terrestrial (Mapping of Jamaican soils).
    • Medical Diagnosis/Treatment (X-rays)
    • Quantification of effect of skull thickness on cell phone radiation (children vs adults)


Environmental applications of Radon

    • Radon in household water and mineral springs
    • Radon modelling of cave systems.
    • Development of cheap, active radon detector.


Heavy metals exposure and Health
    • Heavy metal effects on chronic kidney disease
    • Lead poisoning in children
    • Prenatal mercury exposure
    • Elemental composition of food packaging and plastic bottles


Top of Page