Dr Mike Merchant is a lecturer in Proton Therapy Physics in the PRECISE group (Proton Research at the Christie and Division of Cancer Sciences) at the Division of Cancer Sciences, University of Manchester.
My primary research interest is the design of the Christie Proton Research Beamline, a 250 MeV proton beamline in development in a dedicated research space at the new Christie proton therapy centre, currently under construction.
I received a Ph.D. in Electronic Engineering from the University of Surrey, on the topic of the beam optics of magnetic quadrupole probe forming systems for focussing of MeV ions to sub-micron spot sizes. During this time, I developed an interest in the use of ion microbeams to investigate the radiation response of living cells.
The Christie Proton Research Beamline
The Department of Health has committed £250 million to developing high-energy proton beam therapy services in the UK. Two facilities are currently under construction located at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust , Manchester, and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The Christie proton beam therapy centre will host three clinical treatment rooms featuring a ProBeam proton therapy system supplied by Varian Medical Systems. Joint investment by Department of Health and the Christie Charity into the Manchester Proton Therapy Centre has allowed the development of a dedicated proton therapy research space in a fourth room at the Christie proton therapy centre.
This research room will house a static horizontal beam line, and have the capability for spot scanning beam delivery. The design philosophy for this beamline is to provide a modular, adaptable end-station to give the flexibility to allow an extensive range of experiments to be performed, encompassing radiobiology, physical, and technical experiments. The research room will be a UK national facility for proton therapy research.