How does ionizing radiation affect soft matter? The multidisciplinary research in our group covers many different topics which can be roughly summarized in the categories radiobiology, physics, space research and therapy. Dr. Durante heads the biophysics department at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt and holds a professorship at the Department of Physics at the TU Darmstadt.
We study the induction and repair of DNA in mammalian cells after exposure to heavy ions. The nature of the damage and its repair has indeed significant differences with respect to X-rays, due to the different physical dose deposition pattern. Moreover, the high lesion density induced by very heavy ions allows for accurate visualization and quantification of DNA repair protein recruitment.
We are interested in the effects of ionizing radiation on organs such as the brain, the heart, and the lung trying to elucidate the risks for patients treated with ionizing radiation as well as for astronauts, who are inevitably exposed to ionizing radiation on their missions into space.
Research topics in this area include the impact of low dose radon exposure on the organism, immunogenicity and immunomodulation of radiation, radiation response of human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, as well as heavy ion induced late effects in tissue.
Because shielding is difficult and costly in space, the effects of the cosmic radiation should be known as accurately as possible in order to optimize the shielding measures and to exploit the shielding properties of materials used for other purposes, such as the spacecraft hull, internal equipment, fuel and supplies.