Strategic Communication and Public Relations

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schlegel nominated as outstanding contributor to the advancement of medical physics over the last 50 years

No. 51c | 15/10/2013

To mark the 50th Anniversary of the International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP), national and regional medical physics organizations were invited to nominate medical physicists, who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of medical physics and healthcare through research, clinical developments, education and training activities, service development, and to professional matters over the last 50 years.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schlegel

Wolfgang Schlegel is known for his pioneering work in radiotherapy physics. Under his leadership new technologies for radiotherapy were developed, which significantly enhanced the precision and effectiveness of cancer treatment with ionizing radiation. Wolfgang Schlegel studied Physics in Berlin and Heidelberg and was a graduate student at the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg where he graduated in 1970 and received the Ph.D. (Dr. rer. nat.) in 1972.

Wolfgang Schlegel´s occupational career as a Medical Physicist started in 1973 when he became a Research Associate at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. The University of Berlin appointed him to a professorship in Medical Physics in 1988. In 1993 he became a Professor of Medical Physics at the University of Heidelberg and the Head of the Department “Medical Physics in Radiotherapy” at the DKFZ.

His research covers important fields of radiotherapy physics and technology, such as 3D treatment planning, stereotactic radiosurgery, 3D conformal radiotherapy, intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) and ion therapy. The developments of his department initiated a breakthrough in radiotherapy concerning precision and conformality of dose delivery. By combining basic research and translation, the Heidelberg group belongs to those groups performing groundbreaking achievements in 3D treatment planning, radiosurgery of brain tumours, 3D conformal radiotherapy with Multi-Leaf-Collimators and IMRT. Recently his department was instrumental in establishing the “Heidelberg Ion Therapy facility” (HIT) as the first European Ion therapy unit.

Not only as a researcher, Wolfgang Schlegel also distinguished himself as an academic teacher and promoter of education in Medical Physics. He supervised more than 200 diploma-, masters- and PhDtheses in Medical Physics. He established the postgraduate further education programme “Medical Physics” at the University of Heidelberg, the on-line Masters programme “Advanced Physical Methods in Radiotherapy” (APMR) and the Masters programme “Clinical Medical Physics” which recently started as a collaboration between the Pontefica Universidad Catolica/Santiago de Chile (PUC) and the University of Heidelberg.

Wolfgang Schlegel is awardee of numerous scientific prizes: In 1996, he received the “Karl-Heinz Beckurts Award” of the German Ministry of Research and Education for successful technology transfer, he was nominated for the “Future-Award of the German President” in 2001, he received the “German Cancer Award 2003”, the “Glocker Medal 2010” of the German Medical Physics Society (DGMP) for his lifelong achievements in Medical Physics and he became a honorary member of the German Society of Radiation Oncology (DEGRO) in 2013.

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The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. More than 1,300 scientists at the DKFZ investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and search for new strategies to prevent people from developing cancer. They are developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to all questions on cancer.

Jointly with partners from the university hospitals, the DKFZ operates the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg and Dresden, and the Hopp Children's Tumour Center KiTZ in Heidelberg. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of the six German Centers for Health Research, the DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partner locations. NCT and DKTK sites combine excellent university medicine with the high-profile research of the DKFZ. They contribute to the endeavor of transferring promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improving the chances of cancer patients.

The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.

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