prof. Barbara Vanderstraeten (PhD)

CRIG group leader
Barbara Vanderstraeten

Medical physics expert: radiotherapy (Department of Radiation Oncology, UZ Gent)
Associate professor (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent)
Co-chairman and member of steering committee (AI in Health, UGent)


Research focus

As an expert in medical radiation physics, my goal is to accurately determine the radiation dose delivered to patients and to improve the quality of radiotherapy treatments, also using the technical and computer skills related to my engineering background. 
In particular, my research interests include: 

  • the biological effects of radiation on tumor cells and healthy tissues, and the modeling of the clinical effects of radiotherapy based on physical and biological parameters
  • automation of processes in radiotherapy, with a role for AI where possible
  • calculation of the cost of radiotherapeutic treatments, e.g. for the purpose of cost-effectiveness analyses
  • adaptive radiotherapy (ART), where treatment is adjusted over time based on anatomical and/or biological changes in the tumor or surrounding healthy tissues
  • "dose painting" and the use of biological and functional imaging in radiotherapy

My expertise covers radiotherapy technology (linear accelerators for photon therapy: IMRT, VMAT and SBRT) as well as medical imaging and software (for dose calculation and optimization of treatment planning). I have extensive experience in head and neck cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and oligometatastic disease, but I am also open to research on other tumor types. 
I and my colleagues in the Department of Radiation Oncology at UZ Gent and the Department of Human Structure and Repair at UGent collaborate daily with fundamental researchers, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and other cancer care professionals to contribute to multidisciplinary cancer research and improve patient outcomes.


Barbara Vanderstraeten earned her master’s degree in Engineering Physics with the greatest distinction from the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at Ghent University (UGent) in 2003. Her master’s thesis was dedicated to the trade-off between dose and image quality for computed tomography in children.
Between 2003 and 2007, she carried out her PhD in Medical Sciences as an FWO fellow (Aspirant) at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at UGent. Her dissertation presented a novel technological development in radiation therapy treatment planning of head and neck cancer based on biological imaging information, also referred to as dose painting. 
From 2008 to 2010 Barbara was a Doctoral Schools policy offer at the Department of Research Affairs at UGent. In 2010 she became a Medical Physics Expert at the department of Radiation Oncology at Ghent University Hospital and a Visiting Professor at UGent.
Today, she combines her appointment as Associate Professor in the field of Quality and Clinical Engineering at UGent with her clinical role as a medical physicist in the field of radiotherapy at Ghent University Hospital.

Research team

Key publications

  • ‘Moderate hypofractionated radiotherapy for prostate cancer: 3-year toxicity results of a multicentre randomized phase 3, non-inferiority trial’. Radiotherapy and Oncology, 2024. (PMID: 38278333)
  • ‘ARCHERY: a prospective observational study of artificial intelligence-based radiotherapy treatment planning for cervical, head and neck and prostate cancer - study protocol’. BMJ Open, 2024. (PMID: 38149419)
  • ‘Peripheral blood lymphocytes differ in DNA damage response after exposure to X-rays with different physical properties’. International Journal of Radiation Biology, 2023. (PMID: 37819795)
  • ‘Dose-volume-based evaluation of convolutional neural network-based auto-segmentation of thoracic organs at risk’. Physics and Imaging in Radiation Oncology, 2022. (PMID: 35936797)
  • ‘Patient- versus physician-reported outcomes in prostate cancer patients receiving hypofractionated radiotherapy within a randomized controlled trial’. Strahlentherapie und Onkologie, 2019. (PMID: 30406289)
  • ‘Automated Instead of Manual Treatment Planning? A Plan Comparison Based on Dose-Volume Statistics and Clinical Preference’. International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, 2018. (PMID: 30191874)
  • ‘In Search of the Economic Sustainability of Hadron Therapy: The Real Cost of Setting Up and Operating a Hadron Facility’. International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, 2014. (PMID: 24725698)
  • ‘Positron emission tomography-guided, focal-dose escalation using intensity-modulated radiotherapy for head and neck cancer’. International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, 2007. (PMID: 17448871)
  • ‘Conversion of CT numbers into tissue parameters for Monte Carlo dose calculations: a multi-centre study’. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 2007. (PMID: 17228104)
  • ‘Accuracy of patient dose calculation for lung IMRT: A comparison of Monte Carlo, convolution/superposition, and pencil beam computations’. Medical Physics, 2006. (PMID: 17022207)

Contact & links

  • Lab address: UZ Gent, Department of Radiation Oncology, Corneel Heymanslaan 10 RTP Ingang 98, 9000 Gent
  • LinkedIn