J.R. Cunningham Young Investigators Awards

The awards are presented to the top three speakers in the Young Investigators' Symposium held during the annual meeting of the Canadian Organization of Medical Physics. The presentations are judged for scientific excellence and for clarity of presentation. The Symposium is widely recognised as one of the highlights of the annual meeting, with presentations that are of international calibre.

John Robert Cunningham (known universally as "Jack") received his B.Eng. in Engineering Physics in 1950 and the following year his M.Sc. in Radiation Physics (under Dr. H. E. Johns), from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Toronto in 1955. After working at the Defense Research Board, he joined the staff of the Ontario Cancer Institute / Princess Margaret Hospital (OCI/PMH) in Toronto as a Medical Radiation Physicist in 1958. He became Chief Clinical Physicist in 1965. During his career Dr. Cunningham published more than 70 scientific papers, proceedings and book chapters, and co-authored, with Dr. H. E. Johns, the textbook The Physics of Radiology. His major contributions to Medical Physics have been clinical dose calculation and treatment planning algorithms for radiation therapy. The methods he has developed can be found in many commercial as well as non-commercial treatment planning computer systems throughout the world.

Dr. Cunningham has also been very active in the national medical physics scene in Canada. He served twice as the Chairman of the Division of Medical and Biological Physics of the Canadian Association of Physicists (the forerunner of COMP). Internationally, Dr. Cunningham served as the Canadian representative to the International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP) and as the President of the IOMP. Although Dr. Cunningham retired from the OCI/PMH in 1988, he still remains active in the field.

2017 J.R. Cunningham Young Investigators Award Winners


1st Place

2nd Place

3rd Place


Victor Malkov
Carleton University
Ottawa, ON

Ion chamber quality and magnetic field conversion factors and angular dependence in magnetic fields

Sahar Darvish-Molla
McMaster University
Hamilton, ON

Development of an Advanced 2-D THGEM Detector and Multi-Input Digital Signal Processor System for the Measurement of Dose Distribution in Low and High LET Mixed Radiation Fields

Chris Johnstone
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC

Development and Characterization of a Plastic Scintillating Detector for Small Animal Irradiators

Past Award Winners and Finalists