Dr. O'Meara's research has focused on medical physics and the design of x-ray fluorescence (XRF) systems to measure elemental body composition in vivo.
In general, such measurement systems are developed for assessing the exposure of industrial populations in the workplace, as the existing monitoring techniques do not provide direct information regarding levels in biologically relevant tissues/organs, tending instead to rely on the inference of worker health from measuring levels in blood and urine.
Through the development of a Monte Carlo photon transport code for this work, she has investigated the optimal design of several in vivo XRF systems.
Their analysis approach has now been applied to determine the water content of soils and rocks encountered by the Spirit rover on Mars.
In addition, she continues to collaborate with colleagues at McMaster University in the field of elemental body composition. They have recently acquired a new system for measuring strontium in bone, which they will be exploring for use in monitoring patients being treated for osteoporosis with a compound that contains strontium.