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What makes the Department of Medical Biophysics different?

We are almost exclusively a Research Institute-based Department. Our Faculty are scientists primarily located at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre or Sunnybrook Research Institute. Our presence within the hospital research environment gives rise to a culture and focus somewhat different from a campus-based Department; we are surrounded by patients and, therefore, the clinical flavour characterizes our research programs. The Institutes also give us some advantages in terms of infrastructure and funding support.

At the same time, we are a full academic Department of the University of Toronto, within the Faculty of Medicine. Therefore, we participate fully in University life, including teaching at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Graduate training and research experience are at the core of our activities, but opportunities do exist for taking courses or teaching throughout Canada's largest University. We recognize that there are many skills needed to be an independent scientific investigator.

What does Medical Biophysics mean?

Our areas of research span many disciplines spanning Biology and Physics, but have the common characteristic of being medically focused. The name Medical Biophysics reflects this character, as well as the roots of the Department within the Ontario Cancer Institute's original Biology and Physics Divisions. Cross-disciplinary projects are encouraged and fostered. Our students come from backgrounds in Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, Molecular and Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry and beyond. The diversity of Faculty and projects reflects this background.

As examples, projects include the following areas: tumour biology, radiobiology, membrane function, molecular interactions, gene expression, cell differentiation and growth control, viral and chemical carcinogenesis, cellular and molecular immunology, hematopoiesis, macromolecular structure, the physics of radiation therapy and diagnostic imaging, development of imaging systems involving ultrasound, nuclear magnetic resonance and electron optics.

For more information on the history of the Department, see Chairman's Message.