Welcome to Medical Physics / Bioengeering

Medical physics is the application of physics to medicine. It generally concerns physics as applied to diagnostic techniques such as medical imaging and physiological measurement and advanced therapeutics such as radiation and laser therapy. Medical physicists may also work in many other areas of healthcare. A medical physics department may be based in either a hospital or a university and its work is likely to include research, technical development, and clinical healthcare.

Clinical engineering (also referred to as ‘Bioengineering’ or ‘Biomedical Engineering”) is a specialty responsible for applying engineering technology to the support and development of the health services.   The focus of Clinical Engineering is on the management and safety of electromedical devices used in hospital settings.

Medical physics / clinical engineering activities include clinical support, research, technical development, education and regulatory elements.

Medical Physics and Bioengineering at Trinity College Dublin represents the combined activities in Research and Education in these areas across three sites. The associated academics are all active Medical Physicists / Clinical Engineers with full time or part-time commitments to the teaching and associated hospitals of Trinity College Dublin (St. James’s, Tallaght University and St. Lukes’s Hospitals).

Medical Physics / Clinical Engineering does not deliver any specific undergraduate programme. However the academic staff contributes to the delivery of many modules and courses within existing undergraduate programmes in a number of third level institutions. These courses normally relate to Radiation Physics, Medical Imaging, Non-ionising Radiation, Radiation Therapy, Mechanical Engineering and Physiological Measurement.

As education providers, academic medical physicists and clinical engineers support St. James’s, Tallaght University and St. Luke’s Hospitals in their role as teaching hospitals.  With physicists and engineers positioned at the point of care, the function is uniquely placed to teach and train at the interface between clinical practice and medical technology / science. 

Members have contributed to the start up and running of a range of postgraduate courses for other professions, particularly in Diagnostic Imaging and Radiotherapy. Strong links have also been developed with a number of institutions for the delivery of postgraduate degrees as well as fellowship training programmes. These include:

  • Faculty of Radiologists at RCSI,
  • Trinity College Dublin,
  • Dublin City University
  • University College Dublin
  • Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Institute of Technology, Tallaght
  • International Atomic Energy Agency. 

Research, development and innovation has grown primarily from members’ activities at the clinical, technical and scientific interfaces in the medical environment. Approximately fifteen successful PhD students have been supervised either directly or in collaboration with other departments.

Academics have been involved in a series of collaborations with many industrial, international and public service bodies.  Opportunities exist to expand the  research in line with the associated hospitals’ objectives / strategies and to co-operate with other departments and institutions to align activities along a translational axis from basic research through to clinical application.

The primary research strands within the department include

  • Radiation Protection
  • Diagnostic Radiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Technology for older people
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Non-Ionising Radiation Protection
  • Device Development and Assessment
  • Performance Improvement in Equipment Management
  • Process Improvement in Medical Physics & Clinical engineering
  • Physiology Measurement in the Gastrointestinal Tract
  • Technology Transfer and Innovation in Medical Devices
  • Biomechanics of Soft Tissues

Name: Prof. Neil O’Hare
Position Chief Physicist / Senior Lecturer
Qualifications BSc, PhD, FInstP, MIPEM, CPhys, CEng
Affiliation: St. James’s Hospital
E-Mail: nohare@stjames.ie
Research Interests Health Informatics
Image Display
Ultraviolet Phototherapy
Non-Ionising Radiation Protection
Other: Project Lead, National Integrated Medical Imaging System (NIMIS), HSE
Name: Dr. Gerard Boyle
Position Principal Physicist / Lecturer
Qualifications B.E, MSc, PhD.
Affiliation: St. James’s Hospital
E-Mail: boyleg@tcd.ie
Undergraduate Role:  
Postgraduate Role MSc. Health Informatics, TCD
PhD Supervision
Research Interests MRI
Ocular Microtremor (OMT)
Name: Prof. Brendan McClean
Position Director of Medical Physics / Lecturer
Qualifications PhD, MBA, Member Canadian College of Physicists in Medicine, CPhys, MInstP, Member AAPM, Registered RPA, Adjunct Professor UCD
Affiliation: St. Lukes’s Hospital
E-Mail: Brendan.McClean@slh.ie
Undergraduate Role: Selected Topics: Medical Physics UCD (4th year undergrad).  Occasional supervision 4th year Physics projects TCD
Postgraduate Role Specialist Registrar Fellowship programme RCSI,  Diploma Nursing TCD, PhD supervision with UCD, DIT
Research Interests Small field dosimetry, 
Patient dosimetry verification
Bystander effects in radiotherapy.  
Novel radiotherapy beams. 
Dose calculation approaches
Other: Physics advisor to the National Cancer Control Programme
Name: Fran Hegarty
Position Clinical Teacher in Medicine, TCD
Principal Physicist, St James’s Hospital
Lecturer, College of Anaesthetists
Qualifications MSc.
Affiliate of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, London.
Affiliation: St. James’s Hospital
E-Mail: fhegarty@stjames.ie
Undergraduate Role:  
Postgraduate Role P.Grad. Dip. Clinical Engineering, TCD
MSc. Health Informatics, TCD
MSc. Cardiology, TCD
Research Interests Clinical Engineering ,
Physiological Measurement, 
Human – Machine Interface, 
Assisted Living Technologies, 
Art in Health and the application of New Media in Health.
Other: Chair of the Medical Device Vigilance Committee St. James’s
Member of the St. James’s Art Committee
Name: Dr. Geraldine O’Reilly
Position Principal Physicist / Lecturer
Affiliation St. James’s Hospital
Qualifications BSc. (Hons), MSc, PhD.
E-Mail: goreilly@stjames.ie
Postgraduate Role

Lecturer on the Diploma in Nuclear Medicine (TCD)

Lecturer & Co-ordinator of Physics programme for Part 1 Fellowship in Radiology (RCSI)

Research Interests
  1. Radiation Protection – Practical Implementation & Legislative Framework
  2. Diagnostic Radiology
  3. Radionuclide Therapy
  1. Irish Expert on the European Article 31 Group of Experts on the basic safety standards in radiation protection 
  2. Member of the Scientific Committee, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  3. Member of the Advisory Committees to the Board of the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland on Medical & Environmental  Radiation
  4. Member of the Dublin Hospitals Group Risk Management Forum’s Radiation Safety Standing Committee
Name: Dr. Barry P McMahon
Position Chief Physicist/Senior Clinical Lecturer
Qualifications PhD (Denmark) , MSc, Member of the American Gastorenterology Association, Member of the American Motility Society
Affiliation: Tallaght University Hospital
E-Mail: barry.mcmahon@tcd.ie
Undergraduate Role: Biomedical Engineering, Physiological Measurement Techniques, Aalborg University, Denmark
Postgraduate Role M.Sc., M.Eng, M.D., Ph.D. Supervision and Examination, TCD, ITT Dublin, Aalborg University Denmark
Research Interests Gastrointestinal Biomechanics 
Physiological Measurement in Luminal Organs
Medical Device Innovations  
Novel Catheter Based Biomedical Sensors for Stimulation and Measurement 
Performance Measurement and Improvement in Medical Equipment Management
Other: Representative of the Association of Physical Scientists in Medicine (APSM) on the European Federation of Medical Physics (EFOMP)
Co-Investigator, Centre of Applied Science for Health, ITT Dublin (PRTLI)
Co-Investigator, Centre for Visceral Biomechanics & Pain, Aalborg Hospital, Denmark
Co-Investigator, EU-FP7 DIAMARK Project

Medical Physics & Bioengineering Department, St. James’s Hospital
E-Mail: mpbe@stjames.ie
Ph: +353 1 4162645

Medical Physics Department, St. Lukes’s Hospital.
E-Mail: Brendan.mcclean@slh.ie
Ph: +353 1 4065000

Medical Physics & Clinical Engineering Dept., AMNCH Hospital
E-Mail: barry.mcmahon@tcd.ie 
Ph: +353 1 4145898