Kenneth "Kip" MatthewsMatthews

Professor of Physics

Ph.D., 1997 - The University of Chicago

Louisiana State University
Department of Physics & Astronomy
459-B Nicholson Hall, Tower Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-4001
225-578-2740-Office
kipmatth@lsu.edu

Diplomate, 2001 - American Board of Radiology (Medical Nuclear Physics)

Deputy Director of Dr. Charles M. Smith Graduate Program in Medical and Health Physics, Dept of Physics, LSU, Baton Rouge, LA
Adjunct Associate Professor and Faculty Manager of Small Animal Imaging Facility, Dept of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, LSU, Baton Rouge, LA
Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, Dept of Radiology, LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA
Adjunct Associate Professor, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA
Adjunct Associate Professor, Dept of Microbiology, Immunology, and Genetics, Univ of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX

What is Medical Physics

If you want the circular definition, "medical physics" is the field of physics as applied to medicine. But that isn't very informative.

A better definition can be found in the AAPM brochure The Medical Physicist:

"Medical physics is primarily an applied branch of physics. It is concerned with the applications of the concepts and methods of physics to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. It is allied with medical electronics (the development of medical instruments), bioengineering (the application of engineering principles to biology and medicine), and health physics (the assessment and control of radiation hazards).

"Several distinct professional areas have emerged for the medical physicist. These include, for example, the application of ionizing radiation to medical diagnosis and therapy (radiological physics); bioelectrical investigations of the brain and heart (electroencephalography and electrocardiography); and the medical uses of infrared radiation (thermography), ultrasound (sonography), nuclear magnetic resonance (magnetic resonance imaging), heat (hyperthermia for cancer treatment), and lasers (for laser surgery).

"Medical physics thus is a broad, multidisciplinary field. The branch of medical physics with which most people are familiar is diagnostic imaging physics -- almost everyone has gotten x-rays during medical or dental checkups. Each year, many people receive CT and MRI scans, PET and SPECT scans, and ultrasound exams. All of these imaging modalities are the result of many years of research and development by medical physicists."

Background and Education

I received a B.A. degree (majoring in Chemistry and Physics) from Austin College (Sherman, TX) in 1990. In 1997, I received a Ph.D. in Medical Physics from The University of Chicago (Chicago, IL). From early 1997 through July 2001, I worked as clinical and research physicist at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago. I received my clinical certification in medical nuclear physics from the American Board of Radiology in June 2001.

I joined the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at LSU in August 2001. My role is to provide medical imaging expertise, teaching, and research to LSU Medical Physics & Health Physics Program.

Research Interests

Medical Imaging Physics

My general field of interest is Medical Physics, especially the physics of medical imaging -- the application of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation to visualize in vivo anatomy and physiology. My primary expertise is nuclear medicine physics, which is the application of radioactive materials for imaging and therapy. A particular interest is the development of new radiological imaging systems, and their translation from laboratory to clinic. Another interest is the application of medical imaging techniques to basic research in other fields (e.g., biology, veterinary science, engineering, etc). Related interests include radiation protection, facility radiation shielding design, and radiobiology,

Current and recent projects:

X-ray interferometry imaging
  • Development of a lung x-ray interferometry imaging system for COPD and the effects of COVID-19
  • Development of prototype clinical x-ray interferometry-CT imaging system
  • Preclinical and research applications of x-ray interferometry imaging
Radiation protection and shielding
  • Evaluation of the impact of VMAT radiotherapy deliveries on linac vault design
    NCRP-style shielding design for synchrotron x-ray beamline hutches
    Accurate quantitation of air monitoring of radioiodine
    Release criteria for veterinary nuclear medical radiotherapy
Novel clinical imaging systems
  • endoDPT: endorectal x-ray tomosynthesis imaging for high-resolution visualization of prostate
Synchrotron X-rays for imaging and radiobiology research
  • Evaluation of synergistic chemotherapy & radiation therapy using low-energy x-ray induced Auger emission from stable nuclides
  • Synchrotron tomography imaging for medical and non-medical applications

Educational Roles

At LSU, I manage graduate admissions each year for the Medical Physics and Health Physics Program. I teach graduate level courses in the Medical Physics and Health Physics curriculum. I developed the 2-semester medical imaging physics sequence that we teach, and I’ve been a co-instructor or course director in many other of our courses.

  • Instructor, MEDP 7530 Radiation Shielding
  • Instructor, MEDP 4351 Radiation Detection and Instrumentation
  • Instructor, MEDP 4352 Radiation Detection Laboratory
  • Co-instructor, MEDP 7260 Clinical Medical Physics Rotation
  • Instructor, MEDP 4991 Radiographic Anatomy for Medical Physicists
  • Course Director, Radiological physics review course for radiology residents


At LSU, I have supervised the thesis and dissertation research projects of 18 MS students and 2 PhD students in Medical Physics and Health Physics. I have served on the supervisory committees of 37 MS students and 10 PhD students in Medical Physics and Health Physics; 5 PhD students in Physics, and 1 PhD student in Computer Science.

In 2010, I started the REU program in Physics & Astronomy, which has operated continuously since then; I was the REU program director through 2018 (3 funding cycles). During my time as director, the REU program hosted 110 undergraduate researchers from institutions across the U.S. for a 10 week research internship.

With colleagues at LSU, I have authored two online educational modules. A physics module about radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals in nuclear medicine imaging was produced for the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). A module about ethics in graduate and resident education in radiology was produced for the American Board of Radiology (ABR) and RSNA.

Professional Activities

I am a member of these professional societies:

    • President, 2016
    • Treasurer, 2020-2022

I serve as a referee and senior associate editor for the Medical Physics journal. I serve occasionally as a reviewer for other medical physics-related journals.

Recent Honors

Current and Recent Grants

  • Principal Investigator: REU site: Research in Physics & Astronomy at Louisiana State University, National Science Foundation, three 3-year awards, 2010-2018
  • Principal Investigator: Treatment Planning Models for Targeted Radiation Therapies Using New Accelerator Technology, Subcontract from Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Dept. of Defense, 2010-2012
  • Co-Investigator: Development of a Laboratory X-Ray Tomography System with Stationary Sample and Phase Contrast Imaging (PI: L. Butler). W.M. Keck Foundation. 2014-2019
  • Co-Investigator: Equipment for Near-5 Micron Resolution Phase Contrast X-ray Imaging to Enable Soft Tissue Contrast at Reduced X-ray Dose (PI: D.G. Homberger).
  • Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund. 2015-2016
  • Co-Investigator: Electrical Stimulation Device for Targeted Osmotic Lysis of Cancer Cells (PI: W.T. Monroe). Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund. 2015-2017
  • Principal Investigator: Validation of Phase Contrast X-ray Imaging of Brown Adipose Tissue. Louisiana Biomedical Collaborative Research Program. 2018-2019
  • Co-Principal Investigator: LIFT2: Endorectal digital prostate tomosynthesis for high resolution 3D prostate cancer screening and diagnosis (PI: G. Jia). LSU Board of Supervisors. 2017-2018

Recent Publications

  • Sutton M., Fontenot J., Matthews K., Parker B., King M., Gibbons J., and Hogstrom K. Accuracy and precision of cone beam CT-guided intensity modulated radiation therapy. Practical Radiation Oncology 4(1):e67-73, DOI: 10.1016/j.prro.2013.02.006, 2014.
  • Tuuri G., Durham H.A., Matthews II K.L., and Zanovec M. Behavioral predictors of quantitative ultrasound broadband attenuation score in young adult caucasian women. Gazzetta Medica Italiana – Archivio per le Scienze Mediciie, 173(12):585-592, 2014.
  • Alvarez D., Hogstrom K.R., Brown T.A.D., Matthews II K.L., Dugas J.P., Ham K., and Varnes, M.E. Impact of IUdR on Rat 9L Glioma Cell Survival for 25-35 keV Photon-Activated Auger Electron Therapy. Radiation Research 182:607-617, DOI: 10.1667/RR13841.1, 2014.
  • McLaughlin D.J., Hogstrom K.R., Carver R.L., Gibbons J.P., Matthews II K.L., Clarke T., Henderson A., Liang E.P., and Shikhaliev P.M. Permanent-magnet energy spectrometer for electron beams from radiotherapy accelerators. Medical Physics, 42(9):5517, DOI: 10.1118/1.4928674, 2015.
  • Wilson C.A. IV, Matthews K., Pulsipher A., and Wang, W.-H. Using geographic information systems to determine site suitability for a low-level radioactive waste storage facility. Health Physics, 110(2):S17-S25, DOI: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000428, 2016.
  • Wilson C.A. IV, Hendrickson K.M., Hamideh A.M., Matthews II K.L., and Wang W.-H. Visualizing high-order decay after disequilibria. Health Physics, 115(6):791-796, DOI: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000926, 2018.
  • Huang X., Chafi H, Matthews II K.L., Carmichael O., Li T., Miao Q., Wang S., and Jia G. Magnetic resonance elastography of the brain: A study of feasibility and reproducibility using an ergonomic pillow-like passive driver. Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 59:68-76, DOI: 10.1016/j.mri.2019.03.009, 2019.
  • Wilson IV CA, Hamideh AM, Matthews II KL, Wang W-H. Determination of uranium series activity before secular equilibrium is established. Health Physics 117:443-448, DOI: 10.1097/HP.0000000000001073, 2019.
    Steiner J., Matthews II K., Jia G. Endorectal digital prostate tomosynthesis (endoDPT): a proof-of-concept study. Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express 7(2):025001, DOI: 10.1088/2057-1976/abd59b, 2021.