Research aims

Main mission of ISS: Prevention, Exposure, Disease Mechanisms, Risk

The Institute of Radiation Protection (ISS) performs basic research on prevention, exposure, mechanisms of radiation-induced diseases and radiation risk. Protection from ionizing radiation relates to people in the medical field (hospital staff, patients, relatives) and the general population.

The general aim is to optimize the use of ionizing radiation in relation to its benefits and risks. The focus of the scientific work is translational research with the aim of transferring scientific knowledge and technical developments in particular into clinical applications.

The ISS is a research institute that performs basic and applied research in selected fields of radiation protection that are of scientific or public interest. The ISS working groups (WG) include the following research priorities:


Mission WG 1 "Preventative Radiation Protection": Minimizing radiation exposure of the population in terms of preventative actions:

• Quantification of unexplored but potentially hazardous radiation exposure of the population and development of concepts to avoid such exposure.

• Prevention of lung diseases by detecting and minimizing radiation exposure due to gaseous and particulate radionuclides (for example, derivatives of Rn-219, Rn-220, Ra-222; I-131) with innovative methods.

• Future: Use of existing strengths and expertise on the behaviour of airborne radionuclides in the environment and their detection in the field of nuclear medicine.


Mission WG 2 "Medical and Environmental Dosimetry": Quantification of radiation exposures to determine radiation-induced health risks

• Determination of individual radiation doses in the field of medicine to minimize the risk of radiation-related diseases, and to provide input for bio-based dose-response and risk models.

• Measurement and simulation of the dose by secondary neutrons and other types of radiation in particle therapy.

• Development of novel measurement methods for determining the dose for clinically relevant applications (e.g.: interventional radiology).

• Continuous development of EPCARD to determine the exposure of aircrew and passengers to cosmic radiation.


Mission WG 3 - Optimisation of radiation applications in medicine: Improving the efficiency of medical applications of ionising radiation.

• Development of novel modalities in molecular imaging using x-ray fluorescence

• Exploitation of markers coupled to gold nanoparticles and their biokinetic behaviour for developing and optimising innovative methods in radiation therapy

• Conceptual developments towards improved geometry definition and scatter reduction in cone-beam computed tomography


Mission WG 4 "Integrative Modelling": Integration of molecular biology and epidemiology to model mechanisms of radiation-induced pathogenesis

• Modeling of disease development, based on biological processes, on various organisation levels, starting from the cell via the organ up to risk populations (multi-scale modeling).

• Development of mechanistic multipath models for radiation-induced tumors, in particular colon and lung tumors, including epidemiological disturbances (smoking habits) and molecular data.

• Evaluation and reduction of dose uncertainties in diagnostic and therapeutic applications of ionizing radiation.

• Evaluation of biomarkers of ionizing radiation in relation to their use in bio-based dose-response models (e.g. for thyroid cancer in young patients).

• Simultaneous determination of model parameters from epidemiological and biological data sets with advanced statistical methods.


Mission WG 5 "Radiation Risk": Estimation of personalized health risks after radiation exposure for hospital staff, patients and population

• Modeling of cellular effects of different radiation qualities for a better characterization of risks in conventional and innovative radiotherapy.

• Estimation of radiation-induced health risks of breast cancer therapies and heart diagnostic methods for personalized optimization.

• Development of an analysis platform for estimating individual late effects (e.g. cancer, cardiovascular diseases) after radiation exposure for example via radiotherapy.