Hania Al-Hallaq, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Radiation and Cellular Oncology

Research Summary

Hania entered a Ph.D. program in medical physics at The University of Chicago in 1994 and spent 6 years studying the oxygenation status of tumors using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in Greg Karczmar’s laboratory. After extensive experimental experience, Hania entered a residency training program in Therapeutic Physics at The University of Chicago from 2000-2002. With her strong background in medical physics, and solid practical training, Hania obtained ABR certification in Therapeutic Physics in 2003.

After a couple of years as a clinical physicist, Hania returned to The University of Chicago as an Instructor in Radiation & Cellular Oncology. Currently, her clinical focus is the innovation of breast therapy treatments. She works closely with Dr. Steven Chmura and in tandem they have implemented intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) for breast radiation. Moreover, they have designed a prone immobilization device for treating a subset of women who many benefit dosimetrically from this position. Their future goals include starting a partial breast irradiation protocol and including MRI in the treatment planning process for radiotherapy.

On the research front, Hania remains interested in incorporating functional imaging, specifically regarding the oxygenation status of tumors, into clinical practice. Much work remains to be done in order to be able to use functional imaging to differentiate patients who may benefit from treatment to a higher dose. Currently, Hania is collaborating with Dr. Halpern’s group to use electron spin resonance (EPR) to validate some of the clinically available imaging methods claiming to measure hypoxia.

recent publications

  • 1: Han X, Pearson E, Pelizzari C, Al-Hallaq H, Sidky EY, Bian J, Pan X. Algorithm-enabled exploration of image-quality potential of cone-beam CT in image-guided radiation therapy. Phys Med Biol. 2015 Jun 21;60(12):4601-33.

    2: Al-Hallaq H. TH-C-BRD-01: Optimization of CT Simulation Imaging in Radiation Therapy: Background and Motivations. Med Phys. 2015 Jun;42(6):3725.

    3: Al-Hallaq H. TU-C-201-01: Clinical Implementation of HDR: A New User’s Perspective. Med Phys. 2015 Jun;42(6):3613.

    4: Kang H, Padilla L, Hasan Y, Al-Hallaq H. SU-E-T-141: Automated Dose Point Placement for Cervical Cancer Brachytherapy Using Tandem and Ovoid Applicators. Med Phys. 2015 Jun;42(6):3364.

    5: Anthony G, Cunliffe A, Castillo R, Pham N, Guerrero T, Armato S, Al-Hallaq H. SU-E-J-251: Incorporation of Pre-Therapy 18F-FDG Uptake with CT Texture Features in a Predictive Model for Radiation Pneumonitis Development. Med Phys. 2015 Jun;42(6):3324.

    6: Cunliffe A, Armato SG 3rd, Castillo R, Pham N, Guerrero T, Al-Hallaq HA. Lung texture in serial thoracic computed tomography scans: correlation of radiomics-based features with radiation therapy dose and radiation pneumonitis development. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015 Apr 1;91(5):1048-56.

    7: Cunliffe AR, White B, Justusson J, Straus C, Malik R, Al-Hallaq HA, Armato SG 3rd. Comparison of Two Deformable Registration Algorithms in the Presence of Radiologic Change Between Serial Lung CT Scans. J Digit Imaging. 2015 Mar 31.[Epub ahead of print]

    8: Feng CH, Gerry E, Chmura SJ, Hasan Y, Al-Hallaq HA. An image-guided study of setup reproducibility of postmastectomy breast cancer patients treated with inverse-planned intensity modulated radiation therapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015 Jan 1;91(1):58-64.

    9: Cunliffe AR, Contee C, Armato SG 3rd, White B, Justusson J, Malik R, Al-Hallaq HA. Effect of deformable registration on the dose calculated in radiation therapy planning CT scans of lung cancer patients. Med Phys. 2015 Jan;42(1):391-9.

    10: Cunliffe AR, Armato SG 3rd, Straus C, Malik R, Al-Hallaq HA. Lung texture in serial thoracic CT scans: correlation with radiologist-defined severity of acute changes following radiation therapy. Phys Med Biol. 2014 Sep 21;59(18):5387-98.

    11: Padilla L, Kang H, Washington M, Hasan Y, Chmura SJ, Al-Hallaq H. Assessment of interfractional variation of the breast surface following conventional patient positioning for whole-breast radiotherapy. J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2014 Sep 8;15(5):4921.

    12: Rudra S, Al-Hallaq HA, Feng C, Chmura SJ, Hasan Y. Effect of RTOG breast/chest wall guidelines on dose-volume histogram parameters. J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2014 Mar 6;15(2):4547.