Jenny Power

Jenny graduated from the University of Limerick, Ireland, in 2020, with a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Physics.

Jenny graduated from the University of Limerick, Ireland, in 2020, with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Physics. During her studies, Jenny discovered an interest for inverse problems, waves, and geometrical optics. In the summer between her second and third year, she undertook a summer research project where she focused on geometrical optics, with an application to ultrasound imaging. Her final year project focused on caustics in geometrical optics. In her third year, she completed an 8-month research internship in the High-Tech Campus in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, where she worked in a laser lab on a circuitry printing technique known as LIFT. Outside of her studies, Jenny’s main hobbies include Musical Theatre, photography, and watercolour painting.

Research project title:
Tumour and Treatment Modelling

Tristan Pryer, Silvia Gazzola

Project description:
This project is concerned with brachytherapy treatment for cancer patients. Brachytherapy is a type of radiation treatment that consists of placing sealed, radioactive sources directly into or next to the tumour to be treated. These sources emit radiation which kills the tumour. It has proven to be an efficient form of treatment as the radiation dose delivered can be focused on the tumour, and can be quite high, while limiting dose exposure of the surrounding normal tissue. However, a disadvantage of brachytherapy occurs when the tumour is close to a critical organ. In this instance, the radiation emitted from the sources may damage these critical organs, which could cause further health problems and complications. A challenge lies in positioning the sources such that the tumour is exposed to the required amount of radiation to kill it, but the critical organ is not exposed to excessive toxicity. The main question this project will address is “Where should these radioactive seeds be placed (and how many of them), such that the dose on the critical organs is minimised?”. This project spans the mathematical topics of partial differential equations, numerical analysis, inverse problems and PDE constrained optimisation, as well as the physical and biological processes behind radiation transport. The aim of this work is to develop a numerical model which will determine the optimal placements of these radioactive sources such that the damage on the critical organs and surrounding tissue is minimal, but the dose on the tumour is still high enough to eradicate it. This problem is formulated as a PDE constrained optimisation problem.