Kenneth "Kip" MatthewsMatthews

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

Research Interests

Medical Imaging Physics

My general field of interest is Medical Physics. In particular, I am interested in the physics of medical imaging -- the application of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation to visualize in vivoanatomy and physiology. Secondary interests include the application of imaging techniques to basic research in other fields (e.g., biology, veterinary science, engineering, etc).

My research principally deals with detector systems for radioisotope imaging - - that is, using the gamma-ray emissions of internally-distributed radiopharmaceuticals to visualize in vivo physiology, pathophysiology and metabolic processes. Because of our program's extensive involvement with radiation therapy physics, I'm also involved with radioisotope imaging techniques applied to radiation therapy.

Current projects include:

  • CZT radiation detectors
    • portable hand-held detectors for locating radiation sources in the environment (radiation protection) or inside the body (intraoperative localization)
    • development of gamma cameras based on CZT detectors
  • Depth-of-interaction detectors for PET imaging
    • scintillating fibers added to conventional gamma camera designs
    • layered-scintillator detector designs
  • PET/CT applications to radiation therapy
    • ROC analysis of diagnostic performance
    • consolidated QA methods and phantoms
  • Synchrotron X-ray microtomography imaging
    • comparative morphology of cornified tissues (claws, beaks, hooves)
    • imaging of iodinated DNS-targeted compounds for Auger electron therapy

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.

Academic/Administrative Responsibilities

  • Deputy Director, Medical Physics Program, 2011-present
  • Applicant Liaison, Medical Physics Program, 2008-present
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, 2011-present
  • Secretary, LSU System Radiation Safety Committee, 2003-present
  • Full Member, the Graduate School, Louisiana State University, 2008-present
  • Chair, LSU Center for Advanced Structures and Microdevices (CAMD) User Committee, 2011-2013
  • Lecturer, MEDP 4111, Introduction to Medical Imaging
  • Instructor, MEDP 7111, Advanced Medical Imaging Physics
  • Course Director, MEDP 7121, Radiation Biology
  • Instructor, MEDP 7530, Radiation Shielding
  • Lecturer, MEDP 7537, Radiation Interactions and Transport

Professional Activities

I am a member of these professional societies:

I serve as a referree and guest associate editor (guest) for Medical Physics. I serve occasionally as a reviewer for other nuclear medical physics journals.

Current and Recent Grants

  • Principal Investigator: REU site: Research in Physics & Astronomy at Louisiana State University, National Science Foundation, Award 1004822, 2010-2013.
  • Principal Investigator: Treatment Planning Models for Targeted Radiation Therapies Using New Accelerator Technology, Subcontract from Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Dept. of Defense Contract # W81XWH-10-1-0005, 2010-2012.
  • Co-Investigator: In-vivo intravascular autoradiography with storage phosphor detector, National Institutes of Health, NIBIB (P. Shikhaliev, PI), 2007-2010.
  • Co-Investigator: Enhancement of research in material science and physics through the acquisition of non-destructive investigation equipment, Louisiana State Board of Regents Support Fund (E. Woldesenbet, PI), 2007.
  • Principal Investigator: An electronically collimated radiation detector for hand-held and area-search applications, Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency N66001-C-05-6024, 2005-2006.

M.S. Thesis Supervision

Faculty Advisor for: (Member of 15 other thesis/dissertation committees)

  • Paul Bruce, MS, 2003
  • Kenneth Bernstein, MS, 2005
  • Andrew Morrow, MS 2008
  • Yuri Ishihara, MS, 2004
  • Laurie Kelly, MS, 2005
  • Christopher Welch, MS, 2008
  • Rajesh Manoharan, MS, 2004
  • Adam Lackie, MS, 2007
  • Matthew Sutton, MS, 2011
  • Preshanth Nookala, MS, 2005
  • Will Hill, MS 2007


Recent Publications

  • Shikhaliev P.M., Petrek P., Matthews II K.L., Fritz S.G., Bujenovic L.S., and Xu T, "Intravascular imaging with storage phosphor detector," Physics in Medicine and Biolog 55, 2841–2861, 2010.


  • Homberger D., Ham K., Ogunbakin T., Bonin J., Hopkins B., Osborn M., Hossein I., Barnett H., Matthews II K.L., Butler L., and Bragulla H, "The structure of the cornified claw sheath in the domestic cat (Felis catus): Implications for the claw shedding mechanism," Journal of Anatomy214 (4), 620-643, 2009.


  • Dugas J., Oves S., Sajo E., Matthews II K.L., Ham K., and Hogstrom K, "Monochromatic beam characterization for Auger electron dosimetry and radiotherapy," European Journal of Radiology 68S, S137-S141, 2008.


  • Wang W.-H., Matthews II K.L., and Teague R.E., "Dose Rates of a Cobalt-60 Pool Irradiator Measured with Fricke Dosimeters," Health Physics94 (supplement 2), S44-50, 2008.


  • Richert J.D., Hogstrom K.R., Fields R., Matthews II K.L., and Boyd R. "Improving abutment dosimetry in segmented-field electron conformal therapy using a variable-SCD applicator," Physics in Medicine and Biology 52, 2459-2481, 2007.


  • Wang W.-H., Matthews II K.L., and Scott L.M., "Lessons learned in responding to and recovering from a fire incident," Health Physics 91(supplement 2), S78-82, 2006.


  • Matthews II K.L., Aarsvold J.N., Mintzer R.A., Chen C.-T., and Lee R.C., "Tc-99m pyrophosphate imaging of poloxamer-treated electroporated skeletal muscle in an in vivo rat model," Burns 32, 755-764, 2006; doi:10.1016/j.burns.2006.01.011


  • Wang W.-H. and Matthews II K.L., "An effective means to simulate the gaseous iodine-131 distribution in a silver zeolite cartridge using sodium iodide solution," Health Physics 90 (supplement 2), S73-79, 2006.


  • Wang W.-H., McGlothlin J.D., Smith D.J., and Matthews II K.L., "Evaluation of a radiation survey training video developed from a real-time video radiation detection system," Health Physics 90 (supplement 1):S33-39, 2006