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Research at St Andrews

Kenny Wood


Kenny Wood
Postal address:
School of Physics & Astronomy
Physical Science Building
North Haugh
St Andrews
United Kingdom


Web address:

Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 463116

Research overview

Kenny Wood is a lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy at St Andrews. His three main research areas are star formation, the structure of the interstellar medium, and light activated treatments of skin cancer. At the heart of his research are his suite of three dimensional Monte Carlo radiation transfer codes that he has applied to a diverse range of astronomical and medical physics projects.


Kenny's star formation research has explored observational signatures of disk-planet interactions and the opening of gaps within protoplanetary disks and also the multi-wavelength variability associated with the complex magnetic accretion geometry of pre main sequence stars. He works closely with observers in modeling data from ground and space-based observatories including the VLA, Hubble, and Spitzer Space Telescopes.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a non-invasive cancer treatment in which first a photosensitiser cream is applied to skin cancers. Subsequent exposure to light leads to a photochemical reaction producing singlet oxygen which is highly reactive and toxic to the cancer cells. Kenny and his resaerch students work in close collaboration with laser experts at St Andrews and oncologists at the Scottish Photodynamic Therapy Centre at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. Their recent research has utilised three dimensional radiation tramsfer simulations to study the depth penetration of light into human tissue, resulting in the reccomendation to double the typical fifteen minute PDT treatment time. The theoretical modeling backs up clinical studies indicating that increased treatment times leads to cell necrosis at greater depths and better treatment outcomes. Current studies are exploring the efficacy of daylight PDT, using the interaction of sunlight with the photosensitiser to treat skin cancer.


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