Dr. Kenneth Wood

Research Theme:
St. Andrews
Email address:
Telephone number:
+44 (0)1334 463116
School of Physics & Astronomy, Physical Science Building, North Haugh, St Andrews, KY16 9SS, United Kingdom

Research interests

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.


Kenny's current undergraduate astronomy teaching includes the second level module on Stars and Stellar Evolution and the fourth level Honours module Nebulae and Stars I, which focuses on radiation transfer and the physics of ionised gas in HII regions. He is also the undergraduate Admissions Officer for Physics and Astronomy at St Andrews, processing over a thousand applications each year.

In 2013 he hosted the St Andrews Monte Carlo Radiation Transfer Summer School for astronomy PhD students and postdocs.

Research outputs

  1. The Monte Carlo photoionization and moving-mesh radiation hydrodynamics code CMacIonize DOI
    B. Vandenbroucke and K. Wood, Astronomy and Computing, In press (2018)
  2. Simulating radio emission from low-mass stars DOI
    Joe Llama, Moira M. Jardine, Kenneth Wood, Gregg Hallinan and Julien Morin, Astrophysical Journal, 854, 1 (2018)
  3. CMacIonize: towards radiation hydrodynamics simulations of dwarf galaxy formation
    Bert Willem J Vandenbroucke and Kenneth Wood (2017)
  4. A quantitative study of in vivo protoporphyrin IX fluorescence build up during occlusive treatment phases DOI
    C. Louise Campbell, C. Tom A. Brown, Kenneth Wood, Ana Gabriela Salvio, Natalia M. Inada, Vanderlei S. Bagnato and Harry Moseley, Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy, 18, p. 204-207 (2017)
  5. Dynamic mineral clouds on HD 189733b. II. Monte Carlo radiative transfer for 3D cloudy exoplanet atmospheres DOI
    G. K. H. Lee, K. Wood, I. Dobbs-Dixon, A. Rice and Ch. Helling, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 601 (2017)
  6. Modelling topical photodynamic therapy treatment including the continuous production of Protoporphyrin IX DOI
    Catherine Louise Campbell, Christian Thomas Alcuin Brown, Kenneth Wood and Harry Moseley, Physics in Medicine and Biology, 61, 21 , p. 7507-7521 (2016)
  7. A model for (quasi-)periodic multi-wavelength photometric variability in young stellar objects DOI
    Aurora Y. Kesseli, Maya A. Petkova, Kenneth Wood, Barbara A. Whitney, L. A. Hillenbrand, Scott G. Gregory, J. R. Stauffer, M. Morales-Calderon, L. Rebull and S. H. P. Alencar, Astrophysical Journal, 828, 1 (2016)
  8. Monte Carlo modelling of photodynamic therapy treatments comparing clustered three dimensional tumour structures with homogeneous tissue structures DOI
    C. L. Campbell, K. Wood, C. T. A. Brown and H. Moseley, Physics in Medicine and Biology, 61, 13 , p. 4840-4854 (2016)
  9. Ionisation and discharge in cloud-forming atmospheres of brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets DOI
    Christiane Helling, Paul B. Rimmer, Maria Isabel Rodriguez-Barrera, Kenny Wood, G. B. Robertson and C. R. Stark, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 58, 7 (2016)
  10. Polarised light sheet tomography DOI
    Sascha Reidt, Daniel O'Brien, Kenneth Wood and Michael MacDonald, Optics Express, 24, 10 , p. 11239-11249 (2016)
Last updated: 17 Mar 2016 at 20:48