The Phantom Patient

by Michael Mullaney on December 20, 2011

We had a special guest on campus last week. Wall Street Journal reporter Shirley Wang made the trek from New York City to Troy to speak with a few Rensselaer professors about their research.

The above video is very cool. It’s Shirley being interviewed about what she discovered and saw during her visit to Rensselaer.

Click here to check out Shirley’s story on the research of Professor George Xu. Here’s a quick tidbit from it:

X. George Xu leads a team of nuclear engineers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., studying how radiation interacts with the human body. Computerized tomography, or CT, scans are frequently used in medicine to image tissues and bones in the body. But repeated exposure to radiation from the scans is believed to raise the risk for cell damage that may cause cancer and other health problems. Such risks also can exist for patients receiving radiation to treat tumors, for example.

In Dr. Xu’s lab, virtual patients are exposed to virtual radiation in doses similar to that of a CT scan or cancer-radiation treatment. Simulating a dose of radiation is a complicated process. It involves mapping out the physics of how radiation waves travel through the body and interact with different biological substances.

Read more about George’s research here and here and here.