Immune system and tissue radiobiology

Group leader: Prof. Dr. Claudia Fournier

Whilst  cancer is generally considered the main late consequence of radiation exposure, recent studies focus on the role of inflammation, a common side effect in radiotherapy and also a promoter in the progression of many cancers. However, radiation at low doses has an anti-inflammatory effect, which is indeed exploited in the therapy of chronic inflammatory diseases. In recent activities, our group focuses on the balance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory response following exposure to densely (heavy ions and a-particles) vs. sparsely (X-rays) ionizing radiation.


  • TU Darmstadt (Prof. P. Layer, Prof. G. Thiel, Prof. C. Cardoso, Prof. M. Löbrich, PD Dr. T. Meckel)
  • HDA - Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences (Prof. S. Hüttenhain)
  • Darmstadt Clinic (PD Dr. M. Podda, M. Kovacs)
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich (Dr. R. Kriehuber)
  • University of Erlangen (Dr. B. Frey, Prof. Dr. U. Gaipl)
  • University of Frankfurt am Main (Prof. F. Rödel, Prof. C. Rödel, Prof. E. Ullrich, Prof. H. Bönig)
  • University of Münster (Prof. T. Pap)
  • University of Ulm (Prof. Dr. L. Wiesmüller, PD Dr. P. Fischer-Posovsky)
  • Medical Practice for Cardiology, Bad Steben (Dr. G. Klein)
  • Gastein Research Institute (FOI), Austria (Dr. M. Gaisberger)
  • University of Groningen, Netherlands (Prof. R. Coppes, Dr. Peter van Luijk)
  • TIFPA Trento Institute for Fundamentals Physics Applications, Trento, Italy (Prof. M. Durante)
  • University Parthenope, Napoli, Italy (Dr. P. Simoniello)
  • Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), Crete, Greece (Prof. G. A. Garinis)
  • L’Université de Lyon, France (Prof. C. Rodriguez-Lafrasse, Dr. Alphonse Gersende)
  • GANIL, Université de Caen Normandie, France (Dr. Yannick Saintigny, PhD)
  • Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA (H. Immo Lehmann, MD, Douglas L. Packer, MD)


  • BMBF, joint research project GREWISalpha Genetische Risiken und entzündungshemmende Wirkung von dicht-ionisierender alpha-Strahlung, Teilprojekt A. Funding code 02NUK050A, 01/08/2017 - 31/01/2021
  • BMBF, joint research project GREWIS Genetische Risiken und entzündungshemmende Wirkung von dicht-ionisierender Strahlung: Vergleichende Untersuchungen zur Wirkung von Radon in Zell- und Tier-Modellen und in Radon-Patienten; Teilprojekt A. Funding code 02NUK017A, 01/02/2012 - 31/07/2018
  • FOI Bad Gastein, project funding code FOI-15/08-031WIE, 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2016
  • ESA/DLR, Fidelity of DNA double-strand break repair, manifestation of genetic instabilities and carcinogenesis risk in irradiated human hematopoietic stem cells, project funding code 50WB1225, 01/04/2012 - 30/06/2015
  • DFG, GRK1657 (Graduate College: Molecular and cellular responses to ionizing Radiation), 01/04/2011 - 31/03/2017
  • HGS-HIRe (Helmholtz Graduate School for Hadron and Ion Research)

Group members

  • Group leader:
    Prof. Dr. Claudia Fournier

  • Research scientists:
    Prof. Dr. Gerhard Kraft
    Dr. Andreas Maier
    Dr. Felicitas Rapp
    Dr. Alexander Helm
    Dr. Dorothea Leonhäuser
    Dr. Ayele Taddese Tsedeke
    Dr. Denise Eckert

  • PhD-Students:
    Sylvie Lerchl
    Franziska Papenfuß
    Bahar Djouiai

  • Scientific assistant:
    Svetlana Ktitareva

  • Technical assistants:
    Aylin Benzer
    Dr. Daniela Kraft