John Kildea, PhD, MCCPM

John Kildea (photo)

Medical Physicist
McGill University Health Centre

Assistant Professor
Department of Oncology,

McGill University

Associate member
Medical Physics Unit, McGill University
Department of Physics, McGill University

Medical Physics Unit

Cedars Cancer Centre, DS1.7141 
1001 boul Décarie
Montréal, Québec 
H4A 3J1

john.kildea at

514 934-1934 ex 44154

Curriculum Vitae

Quick Links


Professional Interests

I am a clinical medical physicist at the Cedars Cancer Centre of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Quebec. In addition to my clinical duties, I lead two active medical physics research programs with collaborators in McGill's School of Computer Science, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and in industry (Detec Inc). I also teach the Health Physics for Medical Physicists class in McGill's CAMPEP-accredited Medical Physics M.Sc program.

My clinical medical physics duties include radiotherapy treatment support, treatment plan quality control, brachytherapy treatment planning and quality assurance of radiotherapy equipment. I also lead the risk management committee in radiation oncology at the MUHC, perform certain radiation safety duties as part of the Medical Physics radiation safety committee and lead various software (particularly database-related) projects for the Cedars Cancer Centre.

My research groups are:
1.  ROKS (Radiation Oncology Knowledge Sharing) - translational research

(a) develop knowledge-based and evidence-based radiotherapy treatments,
(b) use data to improve the experience and outcomes of radiation oncology patients.

We work to achieve these objectives by:
1. facilitating guidelines, policies and procedures written by experts,
2. by learning from adverse events, and
3. by learning from data.
2.  NICE (Neutron-Induced Carcinogenic Effects) - fundamental research
To study the production and radio-biological effects of unwanted secondary neutrons in radiotherapy.

This research incorporates radiation detection, Monte Carlo modelling and radio-biology. It is underpinned by a research collaboration between McGill University, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Detec Inc.

HIG and Opal

In the context of ROKS, I am particularly proud of the Health Informatics Group that I co-founded in 2014 with computer science professor Laurie Hendren and radiation oncologist Tarek Hijal, MD. Our collaborative translational research has involved a total of 14 student researchers thus far and has given fruit to Opal, the oncology patient application for mobile phones. When released in the Spring of 2016, Opal will provide radiation oncology patients with access to their medical data and to real-time estimates of their wait times, determined by applying machine-learning algorithms to the time-stamp data of previous patients. For more details, please see my Research Page.

NICE: Neutron Studies at the MUHC
Since completing my M.Sc in Medical Physics in 2010, I have had a keen interest in radiation safety. This stems from my M.Sc project on radiation shielding design (supervisors Michael Evans and Ervin Podgorsak). I supervised my first graduate student, Rafael Khatchadourian,
on the subject of neutron shielding design in 2011 and 2012. Rafael was supported by a grant from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, secured by Michael Evans. My second graduate student Robert Maglieri took over from Rafael in 2013, again supported by the CNSC. Our breakthrough came about in early 2013 when, with Jacques Dubeau of Detec Inc., we showed that it was possible to quickly measure neutron spectra around radiotherapy linacs using Detec's Nested Neutron Spectrometer in current mode, something heretofore difficult and impractical.

Recently (November 2015), Robert, our collaborators, and I published a report of our new method to measure neutron spectra in radiotherapy. The report was selected for the Editor's picks section of the Journal of Medical Physics in November 2015. We are presently working on a second report regarding neutrons from flattening filter free beams in photon-beam radiotherapy and a third report for neutrons around a proton-beam radiotherapy cyclotron.

Building on our neutron measurements, I have formed a research collaboration with Canadian Nuclear Labs, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Detec Inc. to study the biophysics underlying neutron carcinogenesis. Our project will entail a combination of neutron spectral measurements, Monte Carlo modelling, microdosimetry and radio-biology measurements. We will make use of neutrons produced by the radiotherapy linacs at the McGill University Health Centre and various neutron beams at CNL. For more details, please see my Research Page.

Teaching and Supervision
In 2010 I became course instructor for the Health Physics for Medical Physics class. I restructured the course, previously taught by four instructors, and wrote a comprehensive set of notes. Since 2011 I have directly supervised one research assistant, four M.Sc graduate students, and seven undergraduate students. Each semester I offer fun and interesting research projects to good undergraduate students in Physics and Computer Science at McGill as part of the MDPH 396 course.

Academic Background
Before moving into medical physics in 2008, I studied physics at Queen's University Belfast, astrophysics at University College Dublin and I did two postdocs in gamma-ray astronomy, one at McGill University and the other at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. I was part of the design and development team that built the VERITAS telescopes in Arizona and I was on shift during first light of the VERITAS prototype telescope in 2003. Click here for a poster explaining VERITAS that I prepared for the First Light fiesta in 2007.

VERITAS telescope
VERITAS telescope array in Southern Arizona, USA

During my studies and career I have had the privilege of being a visiting scholar at four universities: (1) Universität Leipzig (1996), Alaska Pacific University (1997/97), the University of Arizona (2006-2008) and Trinity College Dublin (2014).

Personal Interests
Outside of work, I enjoy running and swimming. I am the founder and race director of the Montreal Pride Run and with some friends I founded a running club, the Tucson Frontrunners, while I lived in Tucson, Arizona.

Maintained by John Kildea
Last updated: 12 December 2015