Research areas

Ionizing radiation is a component of both natural and man-made environments. The relationship between the risks and the benefits of exposure to these sources of radiation is continually being redefined by technological developments and by shifts in the needs and expectations of our dynamic society.

Helmholtz Zentrum München is an internationally recognized center of excellence for research and training in the radiation sciences and acts as an independent advisor to governmental and international bodies. The Department of Radiation Sciences DRS works in cooperation with the Center’s partners and the Munich universities on a research program designed to develop new biomedical applications of radiation and to improve the quality of radiological protection.


Radiation Cytogenetics

We investigate radiation induced chromosome and DNA damage in cell systems and human tumors. The focus is on mechanisms associated with radiation-induced carcinogenesis and radiation sensitivity of tumor cells, aiming at the identification of radiation biomarkers and the stratification of personalized radiation therapy.

Radiation Biology

Using molecular and cell biological techniques, we research the complex cellular reactions after exposure to radiation. The focus is on analyzing the effects of low dose radiation exposure and on studies to increase the effectiveness and specificity of tumor radiotherapy. This research is conducted by four interlinked research groups.

Radiation Protection

Mechanisms of radiation-induced disease processes are poorly understood. On the basis of radio-epidemiologic and omics data, the Institute of Radiation Protection develops models of carcinogenesis and of the pathogenesis of ischemic heart and circulatory diseases. Health risk estimations are derived for radiation exposures with low and moderate doses. At the same time we focus on the determination and reduction of radiation exposures in medicine, in contaminated environments and due to natural radionuclides and radiation fields.

Innovative Radiotherapy

The main focus is clinically oriented research related to technical and biological issues of radiation therapy. This involves research in preclinical radio- and molecular biology, imaging, as well as new technical developments in radiation technology, and provides a solid basis to bridge the gap between the basic and pre-clincial programmes of the DRS members.