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Radiation Biology Graduate Program

Typical plans of study

Statement of the mission

The study of Radiation and Cancer Biology continues to be an important subject in cancer research and treatment. Understanding the molecular mechanism underlying cellular and tissue response to ionizing radiation is a critical component required for several health-related professions, including Radiation Biology, Radiation Oncology, Radiology, Medical Imaging, Medical Physics and Health Physics. A group of faculty members of radiological sciences within Purdue University School of Health Sciences are actively engaged in basic and applied experimental and theoretical research on the biological effects of ionizing radiation, tumor imaging and radiotherapy. A new molecular radiation biology research laboratory recently established within the School serves as training laboratory for all thesis research projects of graduate students and postdoctoral research projects as well. Upon completion of graduate education in Radiation and Cancer Biology, the graduates assume a variety of roles in the areas of radiological sciences in academia, industry and government. These include positions in radiation oncology research laboratory in medical center, university and hospitals, new anti-cancer drug development in industry and safety evaluation of radiation-related health risk in governmental agents.

Focus of the research or professional program

The School of Health Sciences radiation and cancer biology program focuses on the mechanisms underlying molecular, cellular and tissue responses to ionizing radiation, including bystander (intercellular signaling) effects and adaptive responses. Graduate students complete a research project and thesis that addresses a specific hypothesis or problem related to radiation protection or radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer, including molecular responses to radiation, radiation-associated carcinogenesis, molecular targets for the sensitization of tumor cells to radiation, and the identification of molecular signatures for the prediction of clinical outcomes in radiation therapy. Courses and laboratory research training include microdosimetry and classical radiobiological concepts (e.g., target-hit theory and the effects of dose rate and radiation quality) as well as modern technologies and approaches to radiation-induced gene regulation, signaling transduction, and the estimation of the potential cancer risks associated with exposure to ionizing radiation.

Evaluation of the learning outcomes

The scope and the depth of the unique knowledge learned in Graduate Program of Radiation and Cancer Biology will be evaluated with the student' ability of creative thinking and answering the basic questions related to the radiation treatment of cancer. The students should be able to utilize the learned knowledge of molecular technology to design and perform the experiments to explore and gain insight into radiation-induced biological responses at molecular, cellular, and tissue levels.

More information on the Graduate Program

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