Students’ assessment of their own learning

An interesting study was published a few months ago comparing active learning to traditional lectures. While many studies have shown that active learning results in higher student learning, this study also examined how students assessed their learning in each of these types of classrooms. Students thought they learned less in the active learning environment, even though the data showed they learned more.

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Published: Targeted alpha therapy with 212Pb or 225Ac: Change in RBE from daughter migration

This paper is a follow-up to the Thernostics paper and will appear in the Special Issue of EJMP for the MCMA conference that I attended in the fall.

Targeted alpha therapy with 212Pb or 225Ac: Change in RBE from daughter migration
Nicole L. Ackerman, Liset de la Fuente Rosales, Nadia Falzone, Katherine A. Vallis, Mario A. Bernal

Physica Medica (EJMP) 2018


Speaking at the International Conference on Monte Carlo Techniques for Medical Applications

I am very pleased to be presenting work at the International Conference on Monte Carlo Techniques for Medical Applications (MCMA2017), October 15- 18 in Naples, Italy.  I am speaking in the “Monte Carlo applications in microdosimetry” section on Tuesday (full presentation info below).  This is my first time attending this conference, but the research topics are a great match to my interests.

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Published: Radioluminescence from Tc-99m in glass predicts local dose

My second article, from my research leave in Italy, has just been published online.  The link below will allow you to read the article for free, until November 4, 2017.

Physica Medica Volume 42, October 2017, Pages 112–115

Radioluminescence from Tc-99m in glass predicts local dose

Nicole L. Ackerman, Federico Boschi, Antonello E. Spinelli


The widely-used gamma-emitter Tc-99m has been shown to lead to optical emissions in mice and glass. We investigated the possibility that these emissions are due to the Cerenkov effect and whether the light emitted is proportional to local dose. By using a Geant4 Monte Carlo model matched to an experimental measurement, we show that the light detected by a small animal optical imaging system provides a 2D map of the dose throughout a glass sample. We conclude that radioluminescence from Tc-99m can be used to quantitatively measure dose in transparent materials, which could have applications in dosimetry and quality assurance.

Second Paper Accepted!

My second paper, from my leave in the spring, has been accepted at Physica Medica.  A link will be posted to the article when it is in press, but the title is “Radioluminescence from Tc-99m in Glass Predicts Local Dose”.  I’m glad that my 3-month research leave resulted in two papers, and I am very grateful for the support I received from Agnes Scott: the Julia T. Gary Science Fund and Dorothy Travis Joyner Faculty Innovation Fund.

Paper Published in JBO!

Monte Carlo simulations support non-Cerenkov radioluminescence production in tissue

Nicole L. Ackerman
Agnes Scott College, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Decatur, Georgia (United States)
Federico Boschi
University of Verona, Department of Computer Science, Verona (Italy)
Antonello E. Spinelli
San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Centre for Experimental Imaging, Department of Medical Physics, M (Italy)
J. of Biomedical Optics, 22(8), 086002 (2017). doi:10.1117/1.JBO.22.8.086002
There is experimental evidence for the production of non-Cerenkov radioluminescence in a variety of materials, including tissue. We constructed a Geant4 Monte Carlo simulation of the radiation from P 32 and Tc99 m interacting in chicken breast and used experimental imaging data to model a scintillation-like emission. The same radioluminescence spectrum is visible from both isotopes and cannot otherwise be explained through fluorescence or filter miscalibration. We conclude that chicken breast has a near-infrared scintillation-like response with a light yield three orders of magnitude smaller than BGO.