Health Protection Research Unit for Chemical & Radiation Threats & Hazards


Development and refinement of biomarkers for radiation exposure and effect


Biomarkers of exposure and effect are important tools in experimental and patient studies of the health effects of medical radiation exposure.

To complement the work outlined in the projects Developing a Database of CT/Fluoroscopy Health Outcomes  and Establishing a Cohort of Stem Cell Transplant Patients Undergoing Myeloablative Transplant, this project aims to develop existing and new biomarkers, validate and apply them (automated cytogenetic and DNA damage-associated protein markers, gene/microRNA/LncRNA expression markers as well as mitochondrial DNA alteration markers using state of the art technologies) with a specific focus on refining uncertainties and individual variations in the radiation response to low doses used in diagnostic and interventional radiology and high doses capable of causing acute health effects.

Blood samples will be obtained with informed consent (ethics approval in place) from staff members and exposed to X-rays ex vivo before or after leucocyte subpopulation sorting. Advanced statistical methods, including Bayesian and random effect modelling approaches, will be tested / applied to maximise the information we can extract from these biomarker data.

A scoping study will be undertaken to investigate the applicability of the same tools and strategies to selected relevant chemical exposures.