Prof Norman Kirkby PhD. Cantab

Research Fellow

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Proton therapy poses many challenges for computational oncology: from the prediction of the number of patients for each indication, to the molecular processes of detecting and repairing the DNA damage caused by protons. We have established a group to provide mathematical modelling support for the biological and medical issues and problems.

My background is partly in modelling bioprocess engineering systems, but since 2003 has been increasingly focussed on modelling and computational methodologies for assisting medical decision making and treatment optimisation.


Originally from Leatherhead in Surrey, I attended Kingston Grammar School and then obtained a First in Chemical Engineering at the University of Nottingham and was awarded the Elizabeth and J D Marsden Prize.  From there I went to the University of Cambridge to study for a PhD in Chemical Engineering, sponsored by BOC Ltd. My dissertation on gas separation by pressure swing adsorption was awarded the Danckwerts Prize.  After my PhD, I condensed into the liquid phase but remained in Cambridge with a two year post doc sponsored by Glaxo where the project was looking at the separation of antibiotics from closely related byproducts again by adsorption.

I then spent 33 years at the University of Surrey serving as lecturer, senior lecturer, reader and professor in the Department of Chemical & Process Engineering.  I gained an interest in cell cycle modelling and then in radiotherapy through Neil Burnet, ultimately spending a sabbatical year back in Cambridge on a discipline hopping grant from EPSRC, MRC and BBSRC.

Since January 2015, I have been working part-time in the Precise group at the University of Manchester, a variety of models have been developed and we are very excited about soon being able to test and validate these models in our proton research laboratory.


BSc Nottingham Chemical Engineering (1979)

PhD Cambridge Chemical Engineering (1984)

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Institution of Chemical Engineers

External positions

Visiting Professor, University of Surrey

1 Jan 2015 → …

Areas of expertise

Biology, Medicine and Health (BMH) Domains


  • Modelling radiotherapy

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