The research of Wei Liu, Ph.D., focuses on the following two topics: accurate and fast dose calculation algorithm development for proton therapy using both semianalytical and Monte Carlo methods; and the application of operations research techniques in proton therapy treatment planning such as robust optimization, 4D robust optimization and linear energy transfer-guided robust optimization. Dr. Liu has also conducted research in deformable image registration and recently expanded his research to big data and deep learning aiming to apply artificial intelligence in radiation therapy.
In addition, Dr. Liu has pursued radiobiology research investigating bystander effects and its application in radiotherapy to treat patients with cancer. Dr. Liu's research integrates interdisciplinary methods from physics, operations research, computer science and radiation oncology.
- Robust optimization
- Robustness quantification
- Dose calculation algorithm development
- Biological optimization
- Motion management
Significance to patient care
The goals of Dr. Liu's research are to develop novel algorithms for proton therapy that achieve robustness quantification (quantifying the sensitivity of a proton therapy plan to the confounding factors to guarantee clinically acceptable therapeutic outcomes) and robust optimization (delivering precise and predictable proton therapy plans to ensure the highest clinical benefit to patients).
Dr. Liu's research may improve tumor control through more reliable target coverage and improve patients' quality of life and survival through less toxicity to nearby critical organs. This will significantly advance proton therapy to achieve the long-term goals of improving the therapeutic ratio of proton therapy for patients with cancer.
- Research Director, Division of Medical Physics, Mayo Clinic, 2019-present
- Associate editor, Medical Physics, 2018-present
- Recipient, John Laughlin Young Scientist Award, American Association of Physicists in Medicine, 2019
- Research committee member, American Association of Physicists in Medicine, 2018-present
- Recipient, Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award (K25), National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute, 2012-2017
- Early career reviewer, National Institutes of Health, 2012-2014