Professor awarded honorary fellowship for radiotherapy research

6th September 2023

A leading Sheffield Hallam University researcher into radiotherapy for patients diagnosed with breast cancer has been made an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM).

Professor Heidi Probst’s research looks at ways to improve the accuracy and reproducibility of breast irradiation whilst ensuring the patient experience is as positive as possible. 

She is the founder and chair of the Breast Radiotherapy Interest Group and is chief investigator for two radiotherapy breast cancer studies: the SuPPORT 4 All study, which designed a novel support bra for women to wear during breast irradiation, and the RESPIRE project, to develop a series of online patient resources to support patients undergoing breath hold techniques as part of their radiotherapy. 

Professor Probst qualified as a therapeutic radiographer from the Royal London Hospital and worked in the NHS for 14 years in radiotherapy and oncology, where her specialist area was pre-treatment imaging. 

While working as a clinical radiographer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, she started her PhD and was awarded a fellowship by the Department of Health to complete it. This was a randomised clinical trial investigating different radiotherapy protocols for patients treated for breast cancer. 

She joined Sheffield Hallam University after completing her PhD and has spent the last 20 years teaching radiotherapy and oncology at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. 

Professor Probst said:

“It is incredibly humbling to be considered for an honorary fellowship from such an esteemed Institute. I feel extremely privileged to be able to undertake radiotherapy research, to work with patients and amazing colleagues to improve care. 

“Over many years working in radiotherapy and oncology I have been fortunate to work with many outstanding and inspiring medical physicists and clinical engineers. Working across the disciplinary boundaries the different skill sets that we each bring to problems we encounter has led to new insights and new learning. I am passionate about working across disciplines and I look forward to continuing to work closely with colleagues from the Institute in future research endeavours.” 

Dr Robert Farley, IPEM’s President, said:

“Heidi is an inspiration in the work she does in relation to breast cancer radiotherapy, with a clear focus on the patient experience. I feel honoured that we can now count Heidi as an Honorary Fellow of IPEM.” 

An Honorary Fellowship from the IPEM is an acknowledgement of distinguished achievement in a particular vocation or specific area of professional activity related to the field of physics and engineering in medicine and biology. 

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