Low-dose ionizing radiation and health

This project involves three streams, all focusing on the effects of low-dose ionizing radiation. The first stream examines the effects of single ion irradiation using the Microbeam at McMaster University. Preliminary biological research will be conducted on human cell lines using standard radiobiological endpoints including DNA double strand break foci and micronuclei formation. The second stream is a clinical trial assessing whether low-dose half-body irradiation can stimulate immunity and reduce recurrent prostate cancer. Once the clinical trial is initiated, blood samples will be collected from patients receiving irradiations and measurement will be taken on the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and other markers of immune function. The third stream is intended to understand how eliminating background ionizing radiation will impact biological functions. Cell line and animal models will be raised in the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNOLAB), a facility that was built 2070 metres underground to shield from background radiation exposure. The knowledge generated from the three research streams will assist in understanding the impacts of very low-dose radiation exposure and nuclear power production, as well as setting appropriate regulatory guidelines.

Faculty Supervisor:

Douglas Boreham


Chris Thome, Suji Tharmalingam, Stephanie Puukila


Bruce Power






Laurentian University



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