Prestigious honor for Professor Marco Durante: Kaplan Prize for outstanding achievements in radiation research


Professor Marco Durante, head of GSI's Biophysics Research Department and professor at the Department of Physics at TU Darmstadt, has been awarded the prestigious Henry Kaplan Prize by the International Association of Radiation Research (IARR). The award is considered the top radiation research award. Professor Durante received the award at the International Congress of Radiation Research (ICRR) 2023 in Montreal, Canada, in August. The award ceremony included a lecture by the honored awardee.

The award recognizes Professor Durante's outstanding achievements in the field of radiation research. Since 1987, the IARR, the umbrella organization of the world radiation research societies, has presented the prestigious Henry S. Kaplan Distinguished Scientist Award every four years to an outstanding scientist to recognize their achievements in the field of radiation research. Nominations are done by individuals or national societies. Professor Durante was jointly nominated by the German and Italian radiation research societies.

Professor Durante is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of radiation biology and medical physics, especially for therapy with heavy ions and radioprotection in space. He made important scientific progress in the field of biodosimetry of charged particles, optimization of particle therapy, and shielding of heavy ions in space. Professor Durante's expertise is in high demand internationally. Currently, he is president of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG), a worldwide organization of scientists and professionals interested in proton, light ion and heavy charged particle radiotherapy. He was elected by the PTCOG Steering Committee, to which each clinical particle therapy center in the world sends representatives.

"I wish to dedicate this award to Professor Gerhard Kraft, who passed away this year and has been the founder of the biophysics department at GSI and the father of heavy ion therapy in Europe. It is a great honor for me to receive this award. The Henry Kaplan Prize is an enormous motivation and also a recognition of the topics that have moved me for many years and are important for me. Continuously developing the benefits of radiation research and making even better use of its potential is a major goal, for example for an even more effective cancer therapy or for the safe exploration of space. This drives me personally, but also our joint research in biophysics at GSI and in the future at the FAIR facility," emphasized Professor Marco Durante.

Professor Paolo Giubellino, Scientific Managing Director of GSI and FAIR, is delighted about the award and stressed: “We are extremely proud of this prestigious award, which recognizes the exceptional standing of Prof Durante but also the world-class quality of the GSI and FAIR program in radiation biology and therapy.”

Professor Durante studied physics and got his PhD at the University Federico II in Italy. His post doc positions took him to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Texas and to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Japan. During his studies, he specialized in charged particle therapy, cosmic radiation, radiation cytogenetics and radiation biophysics. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the Galileo Galilei prize from the European Federation of Organizations for Medical Physics, the Warren Sinclair award of the US National Council of Radiation Protection (NCRP), the IBA Europhysics Prize of the European Physical Society (EPS), the Bacq & Alexander award of the European Radiation Research Society (ERRS) and the Failla Award of the Radiation Research Society. Additionally, he has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant of the European Union for the continuation of his research activities. The ERC grant is used to continue the studies at GSI. (BP)