Skip to content
Alisha Coates


United Kingdom
I love that my job uses science to help benefit patients for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Healthcare scientists like physicists are involved in around 80% of clinical decisions!

More about Alisha

Since graduating in 2014, Alisha has pursued a career in the field of Medical Physics. We spoke to her about her exciting role as a Nuclear Medicine and PET/CT Physicist in which she uses Physics to benefit patients.

What did you learn – both inside and outside of lectures?
I have many memories from NTU that I’ll treasure forever! My lecturers were fantastic and made what people would consider a “dull” subject far more entertaining and interesting. They had a genuine passion for the subject which was passed onto the students. I made long-life friends from the course whom I’m still in touch with today. I was also part of the NTU Dance team to which I performed at varsity in front of thousands of people which was incredibly fun - and Trent ended up winning in the game!

I learnt a lot about starting my professional career (e.g. managing workloads, knowing the fundamentals of physics, having the confidence to go into the working industry), but also it was my first time living away from home on my own and so I learnt how to live independently and how to budget my finances (not spending too much in the students union obviously!)

What does your current day involve?
I work in nuclear medicine (in an NHS hospital) which uses small amounts of radioactive materials as tracers to diagnose or treat disease. Radiation is detected by a special type of camera called a “Gamma camera”. It provides visual information about the area of the body being imaged by looking at the pattern of tracer-uptake, often identifying abnormalities in the early stages. My role covers many areas, including testing of the cameras and equipment, ensuring the department is adhering to radiation safety legislation, implementation of methods for acquiring images, and carrying out research and development. I also work with therapies (for both benign and malignant treatment) which includes calculating the activity and assessment of radiation dose to the target and critical organs. One of my favourite things about my job is how varied each day is - no two days are the same!

What attracted you to this field of work?
I love that my job uses science to help benefit patients for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. I may not always be directly involved with patient care but my work will have an effect. Healthcare scientists like physicists are involved in around 80% of clinical decisions! STEM is a constantly changing field with new research and technology being introduced all the time and I love the fact my job is so varied and every day is different and brings new challenges.

How did your NTU degree prepare you for a career in this industry?
My course taught me a great understanding of the principles of physics - something that I continuously use in my current role every day. I undertook a module on Medical Imaging which confirmed that this was an area of work that I’d enjoy. I undertook a related BSc project/dissertation on x-ray imaging which helped me start off my career.
I learnt a great effort of working independently and within a team, but also how to manage intense workloads which I have taken forward with me in my career.

What have been the highlights and biggest challenges of your career so far?
My biggest highlight was of course becoming a qualified Physicist in the field. But a personal one related to work was undertaking an optimisation project looking at lowering the radiation dose for neonatal scans, whilst also maintaining a good image quality - it's always rewarding knowing you’re helping to reduce radiation exposures to babies!

What are your plans for the future?
I would like to work towards becoming a “Medical Physics Expert” in my field (a role that is a legal requirement), and perhaps undertake a PhD as working on a research project keeps me motivated!

If you had a time machine, what would you go back and tell yourself at uni?
That there will be tough times but also fun times; however they will be some of the best times of your life so enjoy the moment! And don’t be too shy!

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418
Related student profiles
  • Profile icon


    Alessandro Barcherini

    Sport and Exercise Science

    United Kingdom

  • Profile icon


    Alex Mantle

    BSc Chemistry

    United Kingdom

  • Profile icon


    Amy Stevens

    Nursing (Adult) - Mansfield BSc (Hons)

    United Kingdom