Position: Lecturer and researcher Field: Medical physics Organisation: Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury

Juergen is currently a lecturer and researcher in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Canterbury. His research interests lie in the use of radiation to treat cancer (radiotherapy).

Radiotherapy is one of the central treatments for cancer, but the radiation used to kill cancerous tumours is also harmful to the healthy tissues of the body. Juergen's research aims to develop methods to deliver as much radiation to tumours as possible without hitting and damaging healthy tissue.

Juergen was part of an international team of scientists that researched and developed the use of image-guided radiotherapy. This technique uses new on-board cone-beam CT (computed tomography) scanners in combination with a robotic treatment table to accurately guide the radiation beam to target and hit tumours of any shape with far greater accuracy than is available by conventional methods. This gives patients better results, with fewer side effects – a win-win situation!

Juergen finds the fact his work has an immediate application rewarding and enjoys seeing the results of his work.

There is an application at the end – it is useful. I like the fact I am using science to improve treatment for cancer patients.

 Dr Juergen Meyer

Juergen grew up in Germany and left high school at the age of 16 to complete an apprenticeship in technical drafting. Following the three year apprenticeship, Juergen decided he wanted something different and decided to go on to tertiary education.

After sitting his university entrance exams, he enrolled in a four-year medical engineering programme. As part of this programme, Juergen spent one year at Coventry University in the UK, which sparked his interest in research and radiotherapy.

After a brief spell working in industry and some travelling, including New Zealand, Juergen returned to Coventry to complete a PhD in radiotherapy. Following these studies, he did further research in Seattle at the University of Washington and clinical work for cancer patients in Germany before returning to New Zealand with his wife in 2006.

This article is based on information current in 2007.

These articles have additional information on cancer:

    Published 21 July 2007