The Centre for nuclear medicine at Panjab University is a niche course offering a masters as well as a PhD programme, the admissions of which are based on the PU Common Entrance Test (CET) for postgraduate courses. The course offers only 10 seats with two NRI seats. Only students with a meritorious past and a high CET score get admission here.
“No seat ever goes vacant here. This year, the cut-off for this course is 70 per cent,” said Prof. Rajat Sandhir, associate director, Research Promotion Cell, PU.
Between 2009 and 2015, the centre has received Rs 50 lakh as research grant for the development of new radiopharmaceuticals for early detection of tumours.
The course is unique as the first-year classes are conducted on the PU campus while in the second year, students are imparted practical hands-on training at the department of nuclear medicine, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER).
The students are trained to appear for national and international eligibility tests to become designated and certified radiation safety officers and medical physicists.
The curriculum covers a wide variety of imaging and therapeutic procedures, preparation and administration of radiopharmaceuticals, explanations of procedures and their risks, and an analysis of the results of each study.
Students work with radiation detection systems, including gamma cameras and positron emission tomography systems (available at PGIMER).
Despite nuclear medicine being an emerging field, the placement record of the department is 100 per cent. Students with the master’s degree are hired as radiation safety officer or medical technologists in renowned hospitals and institutes such as PGIMER, All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi, Christian Medical College and Hospital in Ludhiana and Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital in New Delhi, among others.
Students have to clear a radiation safety officer exam conducted by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and get salary of Rs 5 lakh to 7 lakh per annum as a starting package.
Nuclear medicine is concerned with the use of safe and small amounts of radioactive material for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The imaging techniques used in this field combine radioactive substances, detectors, and computers to provide functional images inside the human body by using advanced techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).
The centre for nuclear medicine came up in 2007 as a collaborative programme between PU and PGIMER to train and generate technical manpower resource in nuclear medicine.