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Holthusen Award for Thomas Friedrich


The physicist Dr. Thomas Friedrich from GSI’s biophysics department is laureate of the Hermann Holthusen Award 2020. The science prize is awarded by the German Society for Radiooncology (DEGRO) for outstanding habilitation theses in the field of radiotherapy, radiobiology, medical radiation physics and technology. With this award the society honours the excellent scientific quality of Thomas Friedrich's work.

Thomas Friedrich investigates how to describe the effect of radiation on cells and tissue as a function of their physical properties such as type of radiation, dose and energy. His habilitation thesis particularly focuses on the description and prediction of the increased effect of ion beams. This is an important aspect especially in tumor therapy with charged particles. His contributions in this area are concerned with the development of a corresponding mathematical formalism, and generally with methods and strategies for evaluating and testing such models. 

Based on the "Local Effect Model" developed at GSI and used in particle therapy since years, it was possible to demonstrate the consistency of the developed modelling approaches by applying them to other types of radiation. For this purpose, it was demonstrated that various radiation effects can be described and predicted according to different irradiation scenarios using a uniform concept. This covers a wide range of sorts of ions and particle energies – from almost stopping particles to very fast particles with high energies. Those energies will be provided with unprecedented possibilities by the future accelerator center FAIR, currently being built at GSI.

The methods and results of Thomas Friedrich's award-winning research work are also a contribution to translational research at the border between experimental and clinical science. He thus connects basic research and clinical application of research results.

Thomas Friedrich studied at the Technical University of Darmstadt and received his doctorate from the Institute of Nuclear Physics. In 2008, he joined GSI as a postdoc in the Biophysics Department. Since then he has been working in the field of biophysical modelling for the prediction of radiation effects. Since 2015 he has been working here as a Senior Scientist. He has already received numerous scholarships and awards for his research, including the Young Scientist Award of the German Society for Biological Radiation Research. In addition to his research activities at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum, Thomas Friedrich teaches as a lecturer at the TU Darmstadt’s Department of Physics, where he offers basic lectures in Physics as well as advanced courses in the field of radiation biophysics. He also supervises bachelor, master and doctoral theses.

Together with Thomas Friedrich, the radiation oncologist Dr. Constantinos Zamboglou from the University Hospital in Freiburg is awarded the Holthusen Prize 2020. He is involved in preclinical and clinical studies on the implementation of special imaging techniques in the treatment planning of patients with prostate cancer. (BP)

Further information

More about the Hermann Holthusen Award (in German)

Dr. Thomas Friedrich
Photo: G. Otto/GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung