Marcel Van Herk, PhD, MSc, BSc


  • Radiotherapy Related Research, University of Manchester, c/o The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Dept 58, Floor 2A, Wilmslow Road, Withington

    M20 4BX Manchester

    United Kingdom

Personal profile


Professor of Radiotherapy Physics.  This is a joint post between the University of Manchester and the Christie.  Marcel is responsible for developing a programme of international leading radiotherapy physics research and innovation to deliver direct patient benefits.  The main focus is on accuracy of radiotherapy including target volume definition, treatment planning, image guidance and treatment follow-up.

Work Stream 4 for NCRI Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research (CTRad) Working Group


Professor Marcel van Herk joined the University of Manchester on the 1st of April 2015 as new chair in radiotherapy physics.  He is currently setting up a research group focussing on improving the accuracy of radiotherapy. As his work heavily involves implementation of research into clinical practice, he has an honorary appointment at the Christie.

He has been active in radiotherapy and worked at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) since 1982.  As a medical physics student he started on the development of a liquid ionization imaging device that later became the Varian PortalVision system for electronic portal imaging.  During his PhD at the NKI, the detector was further developed and commercialized and the focus of the work shifted to image processing, correction procedures and margins.  Starting during a Postdoc at Harvard Medical School, USA in 1992, his work incorporated 3D image processing, first CT-MR image registration for treatment planning, later measuring organ motion and other uncertainties in radiotherapy such as delineation variability.  Much of this work has been integrated in the Elekta Synergy cone-beam CT image guidance system developed jointly in a consortium with Elekta and David Jaffray.  For the past 10 years, he also held a part-time teaching role as a Professor at the University of Amsterdam working amongst others at the integration of microscopic optical imaging into radiotherapy treatment planning.

His goal is to do research to improve the clinical practice of radiotherapy in Christie, UK and the world.  To achieve this he feels we need to perform first class research, speedy clinical implementation and collaborate with industry to bring our ideas to the market. 

Marcel has (co-) authored more than 190 papers in peer reviewed journals.

Research interests

Data mining approach for identifying cancer spread

Image guided radiotherapy for peadiatric patients

MR guided radiotherapy

Radiotherapy response measurement using imaging

Probabilistic treatment planning

Observer varation in contouring of tumor and organs at risk

EPID dosimetry

Image guidance for proton therapy

Image registration for treatment planning


ESTRO course on Image Guided Radiotherapy

ICR course "Practical and Theoretical Radiotherapy Physics: radiobiology, accelerator design and quality control, brachytherapy and radiotherapy verification imaging"


My collaborations

Catharine West

Corinne Faivre-Finn

Gillian Whitfield

Ananya Choudhury

Alan McWilliam

Philip Whitehurst

Marianne Aznar

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Dutch Cancer Foundation

Organisation Committee ICCR 2016


Academic Medical Center, 2004

PhD University of Amsterdam, 1992, Cum Laude

MSc University of Amsterdam, 1985, Cum Laude

BSc University of Amsterdam, 1983

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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