The Team


Dr Alina Mihai

Dr. Alina Mihai is a Consultant Radiation Oncologist at Beacon Hospital, with expertise in technology such as Intensity Modulated RadioTherapy (IMRT), stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT).

Dr. Mihai earned her Medical Degree and specialty in Romania. Her training included clinical and research Fellowships in France (University of Rouen–Prof B.Dubray), and Canada. At the University of Toronto, she was involved in their implementation and development of forward planning IMRT for breast cancer and in assessing the role of central pathology review in Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) breast. In 2006 Dr Mihai joined the staff of the Radiotherapy Department at Cross Cancer Institute Edmonton (Alberta), initially as a Clinical Research Fellow and subsequently as a full time Locum Consultant. During this period she was involved in developing their tomotherapy technique for breast cancer treatments, as well as in implementing PET-CT and myocardial perfusion scans in the process of radiotherapy planning for lung and breast malignancies. Dr Mihai joined Beacon Hospital in July 2007.

Dr. Mihai had a pivotal role in the implementation and development of gated and image guided radiotherapy, in conjunction with stereotactic body radiotherapy at Beacon. Her expertise is in assessment of moving targets, SBRT for oligometastatic disease and IMRT for brain, prostate and lung cancers. In addition she is actively involved in the development of pathways for therapeutic management of rectal, oesophageal and prostate cancers. She organised and leads the extracranial SBRT task group at Beacon Hospital.

Dr Mihai earned her Master degree in Radiation Science (University of Toronto) in 2006.

Her present areas of research and publications include:

  • SBRT for oligometastatic disease
  • SBRT in elderly
  • role of metabolic imaging in treatment planning and response assessment

She is member of several professional organizations including ICORG, ESTRO, ASTRO, EANO.

She is currently the Director of Research at Beacon Hospital and acts as site principal investigator in a number of international clinical trials operating in Beacon.

Prof John Armstrong

Professor John Armstrong is a Board Member and ex-chairman of the Irish Cancer Society. Professor Armstrong was trained at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he performed his residency and was Chief Resident, attending for five years. He directed the lung cancer radiation research programme at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and co-authored the chapter on non-small cell lung cancer in 4th edition of DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg, Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology, Lippincott.

He is currently the Director of Research at St. Luke’s Hospital, Dublin. Professor Armstrong is the Principal Investigator for several clinical trials in the Irish Clinical Oncology Research Group. He is Medical Director of Beacon Cancer Centre, Ireland.

Professor Armstrong has published numerous articles and has lectured extensively in the field of radiation oncology. He has been instrumental in the rollout of new procedures involving high-tech radiation therapy procedures such as Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery.

Dr Pierre Thirion

Dr. Pierre Thirion, is a French trained radiation oncologist with a permanent specialist consultant position in St Luke’s Hospital, Dublin, and chairperson of the Radiation Oncology department.

Doctor Thirion completed his basic medical training at the University Paris V-René Descartes medical school. He completed his Fellowship in Radiation Oncology (University Paris-V), rotating through the main Parisian radiotherapy departments. In 1998, he completed an additional diploma in medical oncology (University Paris-XI). After working for two years as a Chef de Clinique des Universités – Assistant des Hôpitaux de Paris (Henri Mondor Hospital, Créteil, France), he moved to Ireland in 1999 and took a position of Clinical/Research Senior Registrar in St Luke’s Hospital, Dublin.

Dr Thirion has a special interest in the treatment of prostate and other genito-urinary cancers, lung tumours, breast cancer, gastro-intestinal malignancies and lymphoma. He has recognised expertise in new radiotherapy technologies, including IMRT and brachytherapy, and had a major role in the implementation and development of extra-cranial stereotactic radiation therapy in Beacon Hospital. He currently has a major role in the lung SBRT public program in Ireland.

Dr Thirion completed a MD in radiobiology at the Curie Research Institute, Paris (University Paris XI-Paris Sud, 1996) and a post-graduate diploma in statistics (Trinity College Dublin, 2002). His present areas of research and publications include:

  • clinical trials methodology and meta-analyses
  • the development of new radiotherapy technologies
  • the implementation radiotherapy-oriented clinical trials.

He is the principal investigator of several national and international clinical trials, and is an executive member of the All Ireland Cooperative Oncology Research Group (ICORG) and other international research group (EORTC).

Dr Jennifer Westrup

Dr Jennifer Westrup Consultant Medical Oncologist, Medical Director of Beacon Hospital and Chief of Oncology at Beacon Hospital Sc MB BCh BAO.

Dr Jennifer Westrup graduated Cum Laude from Wake Forest University and earned her medical degree with honours at University College Dublin. She completed an Internal Medicine Residency at Boston University Medical Center, was Resident Teacher of the Year and named a CREST scholar, an National Institute of Health grant initiative.

She completed her fellowship in Haematology / Oncology at Boston University Medical Center where she was Chief Fellow and Dana Farber Cancer Institute in high risk allogenic bone marrow transplantation. Dr Westrup achieved dual board certification the American Board Diplomate in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology.

Dr. Westrup has published peer-reviewed articles on breast cancer in elderly women and triple negative breast cancer.

Dr Ray McDermott

Dr. Ray McDermott commenced his training in Medical Oncology at the Mater Hospital, Dublin during which time he completed an MBA in Health Services Management. He went on to The Institut Curie, Paris (2000-2002) where he completed a PhD in Tumour Immunology. He subsequently completed his clinical training at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia (2002-2004), where he furthered an interest in Genito-Urinary Oncology. During this training period, he published over twenty peer reviewed articles and Book Chapters. He took up a post as Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Adelaide Meath & National Childrens Hospital, Tallaght in July 2004.

In 2006, Dr McDermott was instrumental in establishing Ireland as a main member of the Eastern Co-Operative Group, the largest clinical trials group in the USA with over 70 active studies. Dr McDermott is the Principal Investigator for Ireland in this initiative and is involved in twice yearly meetings with ECOG to develop this relationship. Dr McDermott is currently Clinical Lead of ICORG, the Irish Clinical Oncology Research Group.

Under the auspices of the National Cancer Control Programme and the establishment of ‘Centres of Excellence’, Dr McDermott’s public hospital commitment has recently been split between AMNCH and St Vincent’s University Hospital, where he pursues his interest in genito-urinary and pancreas cancers. Along with Dr Jennifer Westrup, he has been involved in the establishment and growth of the cancer services at Beacon.

Gavin Lawler

Gavin graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in 2009 with an honours degree in radiation therapy. He joined Beacon Hospital shortly after and works clinically as a radiation therapist.

He has a strong interest in patient education/care with particular focus on radiation therapy education, having presented his undergraduate thesis to Trinity College, based on “Knowledge and Awareness of Radiation Therapy in the General Irish Population and a Population of Health Professionals.” He authored and revised the “Advanced Radiotherapy Techniques” leaflet which educates patients regarding stereotactic treatment (cranial and extra-cranial) for the Irish Cancer Society and is distributed nationally. He is also responsible for all patient education/information in Beacon Cancer Centre. He has authored/sourced multiple sources of information for cancer patients, in conjunction with revising, updating and auditing all current radiotherapy patient education. He has hosted monthly patient education evenings for patients and their families to attend and organised staff education events. He is heavily involved in the clinical training & education of undergraduate students that rotate through Beacon and hosted/organised the stereotactic body radiotherapy study day/workshop for radiation therapy undergraduates annually.

In 2012 Gavin won UPMC employee of the month with a “Quality & Innovation Award” for establishing patient support events which was a huge success. He has attended multiple international teaching courses focusing on IGRT, SBRT, Advanced Treatment Planning and Organ Motion & Evaluation. Gavin has presented nationally and internationally at conferences detailing the breast techniques (DIBH) and stereotactic programmes at Beacon.

In 2012 Gavin began an Advanced Practice Radiotherapy Treatment Planning Masters with a full scholarship from Trinity College Dublin, which he graduated from in 2014 with first class honours. He submitted his thesis “Dose Sparing Potential of Deep Inspiration Breath-hold Technique for Left Breast Radiotherapy Organs-At-Risk” as part of the degree and is currently in the process of publication.

Gavin is the Clinical Trials Co-ordinator Team Leader for the oncology clinical trials at Beacon Hospital, responsible for conducting Beacon’s clinical trials in accordance with ICH-Good Clinical Practice and that they are carried out correctly under appropriate legislative and regulatory obligations. He is the main contact person for patients on clinical trials, working closely with the Research Director.

Sacha Liu

Sacha graduated with a diploma in Tourism and Management from Holtlant College, Leiden, The Netherlands. She has worked extensively in various senior administrative roles, based throughout Europe and as a result she speaks English, Dutch, Italian, French and German.

Sacha developed a keen interest in healthcare, initially starting out with voluntary work that supported vulnerable children and the elderly. In 2005, Sacha qualified with a certificate in Health and Social Care Studies from the Open University.

Sacha has been a key member of the clinical trials research unit as the data administrator, since it was established in 2009. She is responsible for administrative duties on behalf of the CTRU and assists with ensuring data submissions are kept in the required trial protocol timelines. She works closely with the principal investigators and trial co-ordinator.