Program Facilities

The University of Florida has extensive facilities available to the faculty and students associated with the medical physics program. The University provides an array of excellent facilities, ranging from state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories to state-of-the-art clinical and research facilities. Classrooms on the UF campus accommodate web-linked computer and video projection equipment, and provide extensive white/black boards, and comfortable seating for students.

The Medical Physics program is housed in its own building near the center of campus, the BME Medical Physics Building, with additional administrative support located in the Biomedical Sciences Building, and laboratories in the Nuclear Sciences Center. Students are provided with office space throughout their graduate careers. As the students progress in their studies and begin work on specific research projects, they transition to office spaces located in closer proximity to their research area, either in the hospital for clinical projects, or in an associated laboratory.

The University of Florida has a general requirement that students have access to computers, and expects entering students to acquire computer hardware and software appropriate to his or her degree program. While students consequently have personal computing equipment, most laboratory and office locations provide computer systems, many of which include specialized software packages, that are used by students. There is also access to an extensive network of high performance parallel computing systems for research and more extensive computing needs.

Teaching laboratories for the medical physics program are located in the Nuclear Science Center. These laboratories are used for fundamental radiation detection and basic imaging laboratory classes. The equipment utilized in the teaching labs include, assorted radiation detectors including HPGe well counters, a modern TLD lab (Harshaw 3500), several mobile radiographic x-ray units, a direct digital x-ray system, a state-of-the-art position sensitive BAT ultrasound imaging system, mobile ultrasound systems (including 3D acquisition), triple-head and state-of-the-art mobile SPECT systems and a single slice CT system, all dedicated for research and teaching.

Advanced laboratory exercises are conducted in the clinical facilities at the UF Health Shands Hospital. These include the clinical facilities in diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine, neurosurgery and radiation oncology.

The Department of Radiology and its affiliated facilities include those at the UF Health Shands Hospital (on campus), surrounding area facilities, including an outpatient mammography clinic. UF Health Shands Hospital is the teaching hospital for the University of Florida College of Medicine, with 350,000 exams a year. The facilities offer a wide range of state-of-the-art clinical imaging equipment, including full-field digital radiography and mammography; multislice CT with a variety of MDCT scanners, including 2 Toshiba AquilionOne scanners and Vitrea volume-rendering software; Toshiba 3T and multiple Siemens 1.5T MRI scanners; and a wide variety of ultrasound equipment, including Doppler. Nuclear Medicine equipment includes a Siemens PET/CT, GE SPECT/CT and several Philips gamma cameras. Specialty breast imaging equipment includes full-field digital mammography with tomosynthesis, US and MRI breast imaging and biopsy with CAD; dedicated digital stereotactic biopsy, and digital localization and cabinet x-ray imaging for specimens.

The Department of Radiation Oncology provides a full range of radiation treatment services, collaborates with the Neurosurgery Department to deliver stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy treatments, and operates the UF Proton Therapy Institute (located in Jacksonville). The on campus Shands Cancer Center includes 5 linacs (Elekta and Varian) of which 4 are equipped with CBCT to perform IGRT treatments. IGRT procedures are supplemented by the VisionRT surface imaging system, BrainLab Exactrac X-ray and SonArray IR marker systems. The Philips smart enterprise Pinnacle3 treatment planning system performs CT simulation, 3D CRT, IMRT and VMAT dose calculation/optimization. The facilities also house a Philips Brilliance large bore CT, Nucleation HDR unit, Intrabeam (50kVp), orthovoltage(up to 300kVp) machine and a LDR system.

The University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute (UFPTI) is located in Jacksonville and has been providing clinical treatment for several years. It incorporates three proton treatment vaults for protons up to 230 MeV as well as two conventional linacs, and CT, MRI and PET/CT and a large treatment planning facility. While it is located approximately 75 miles from Gainesville, and the main campus, it is incorporated into clinical rotations and student research projects. As the clinical load has stabilized, the PTI is providing an increasingly rich resource for medical physics research projects, including both empirical and radiation transport/simulation studies.

Additionally, a PET/CT system is available and an additional Varian linear accelerator located in the UF McKnight Brain Institute is dedicated to non-human use research and teaching, and is being incorporated for student laboratory exercises in the medical physics program. The Gainesville VA Medical Center is located immediately across the street from the UF Health Shands Hospital, is connected via an underground tunnel and some of the facilities there are also utilized in teaching exercises and medical physics research.

Most of these clinical facilities are in use during the day, but student and faculty access is readily available in the late afternoon and evening. Medical physics faculty provide training to students and authorize the after-hours use of equipment to ensure safe operation and continued readiness for clinical needs. The equipment that is located in the research and teaching laboratories may be scheduled for student use at any time of the day. A number of other clinical facilities are located at outlying clinics. Because these facilities are located off campus, they are not as readily accessed by students in the medical physics program, but they do provide the opportunity to experience and observe a spectrum of clinical environments and patient populations.

The University of Florida has extensive libraries for the use of students and faculty. The library collections that are primarily utilized by Medical Physics students are the Marston Science Library (located near the center of campus), the Hauck Library (located in the Nuclear Sciences Center), and the Health Center Library located in the Health Center. The libraries include over 300,000 catalogued volumes, 4,200,000 microforms, 1,000,000 documents and 20,000 computer data sets. The libraries also have extensive arrays of computer work stations to facilitate on-line research and searches.