Peter Canham Fall Lecture

Jacob Scott, MD, DPhil was the invited speaker at the 2nd Annual Peter Canham Fall Lecture.

Talk Title: "Personalized radiation therapy: the future is here"

Dr. Scott is a radiation oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, Ohio) who specializes in the care of patients with Sarcoma and a theoretical oncologist who thinks about the fundamental evolutionary mechanisms driving therapeutic resistance and genomic determinants of radiation sensitivity.


About the Peter Canham Fall Lecture:

Dr. Canham received a very prestigious honor from the department – the establishment of  an annual lecture in his name. The inaugural lecture was presented November 14, 2019 at Shuttleworth Auditorium, St. Joseph’s Hospital. The speaker was Dr. Zahi Fayad, Director of the Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute at Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York. The following citation about Canham’s career at Western is extracted from the department announcement.   

Dr. Canham earned his Doctorate in Biophysics from Western in 1967, supervised by Dr. Alan Burton. Since that time he remained at Western, joining the expanding department as a junior faculty member at a time when the undergraduate honors program was being established. Later in his career Canham served as department chair, from 1987 until his retirement in 2004. He led the department through a period of faculty recruitment and expansion in academic programs, leaving a visionary legacy of leadership and contributions to the Department, the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, and to the University. 

His personal research program focused on the biophysics of the erythrocyte within the vasculature, developing our foundational understanding of red cell structure and function. These observations included the universal nature of erythrocyte size and mechanics, such that relationships were conserved across mammalian species without the effect of scale. Canham also developed innovative approaches in light and polarizing microscopy with applications to mechanics and the connective tissue structure of brain aneurysms and other vascular tissues. In addition to accomplishments as department chair and as an independent researcher, Canham trained a number of undergraduate and graduate students.  He established the course Human and Animal Biomechanics, with favorite topics including the biophysics of concussion and skull fracture, dimensional scaling in biology (spanning mice to dinosaurs), stresses on synovial joints, tissue viscoelasticity, and orthodontic tooth movement.  Still years after retirement, Canham took on such projects as revising guidelines for seminars and for thesis writing, and he often participates in seminar review panels. 

The Peter B. Canham Lecture has been established by the Department of Medical Biophysics to honor this lasting legacy, in recognition of visionary leadership and the broadening of biophysics – very much in the tradition of the founder, Alan Burton.