Biophysics News

Here you can find recent information from our staff and around our work.

01.10.2019

1st ESA-FAIR Summer School completed at GSI

After two intense weeks of lectures and experiments at ESOC and GSI, the 1st ESA-FAIR Summer School was closed on October 1, 2019, with the award ceremony at GSI. Eighteen students from 8 different countries submitted beam time applications in different fields of space radiation research. The proposals were evaluated by a ESA-FAIR panel. The panel found all the proposals outstanding and worth implementation within the IBER program, funded by ESA to study space radiation protection at GSI (www.gsi.de/IBER).

After careful selection, the best proposal award was granted to Dr. Emiliano Bolesani from the Hannover Medical School (Germany) who will generate heart organoids from human stem cells and expose them to heavy ions  to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease in astronauts. Second best proposal was about microbiology, in particular the irradiation of arctic ice to isolate radioresistant microorganisms that could be present on the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn. The experiments was proposed by Dr. Ligia Fonseca Coelho from IST in Lisbon, Portugal. The project ranked third was about hibernation and radioresistance, and was proposed by Dr. Timna Hitrec from the University of Bologna (Italy).

The school was enormously appreciated by the students and the faculty, which included lecturers from GSI, ESA and other European institutes such as DLR, SCK-CEN (Belgium) and the University of Darmstadt. The second edition fo the school is slated for September 2020 in Darmstadt.

School webpage: www.gsi.de/esa-fair-summer-school.htm1

20.09.2019

Opening for joint ESA-FAIR Summer School: Focus on cosmic radiation research (GSI - press release)

They are the first participants in a new high-quality offer for international young scientists: Currently 15 young researchers from eight countries come together for the first time during the "ESA-FAIR Radiation Summer School" to work intensively on the topic of cosmic radiation. The Summer School for radiation research was jointly established by the European Space Agency ESA and the international accelerator center FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research GmbH), which is currently being built at GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung.

16.09.2019

Summer School for Cosmic Radiation Research (ESA press release)

The study of cosmic rays and their effects on humans, electronics and materials is a key contribution to a promising spaceflight, so that astronauts and satellites in space receive the best protection in the exploration of our solar system. 

This week, 15 young researchers from 8 countries and from various scientific disciplines will meet at ESA's satellite control center in Darmstadt to explore cosmic radiation through the Radiation Summer School

organized by GSI / FAIR and ESA. More (German only)

10.09.2019

ESA workshop at GSI to launch the new experimental program IBER-19

The European Space Agency (ESA) signed a MoU with GSI/FAIR to use the accelerator facilities for space radiation protection. The current plans for moon exploration, already planned in 2024, make this experiments urgent to understand the space radiation risk and find appropriate countermeasures. Within the MoU, ESA is funding the Investigations on Biological Effects of Radiation (IBER) program that supports European investigators  to perform radiobiology experiments at GSI on space radiation protection (www.gsi.de/IBER).  On September 9, 2019, GSI has hosted a workshop to discuss the results of the previous experiments in the FAIR-phase-0 beam time in February-April 2019 and to plan the future experiments in 2020. Over 30 investigators from Germany, Italy, Belgium, Czech Republic and Romania attendee the workshop and presented the result of the experiments, covering cancer risk, CNS damage, alterations in heart rhythm, shielding and effects on ultra-resistant organisms (rotifers).  The next experiments will use protons, carbon and iron ions at very high energy in the FAIR-phase-0 beamtime window in February-March 2020.

25.08.2019

21st Christoph-Schmelzer-Award. The Association for the promotion of ion therapy accepts nominations for the 21st Christoph-Schmelzer-Award for outstanding master (diploma) theses and PhD theses related to tumor therapy with ion beams. Deadline: September 30th, 2019. More

02.08.2019

Prof. Marco Durante is the recipient of the 2019

Marco Durante is the recipient of the 2019 Martin Schneider award of the University of Texas Medical Branch (TX, USA). Prof. Durante will deliver the Schneider Memorial Lecture on August 5, 2019, in Galveston.

09.07.2019

Prof. Claudia Fournier (Biophysics/group leader “Immune system and tissue radiobiology) was appointed by BMU (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety) as an expert and member of the German delegation to the Annual Meeting of UNSCEAR.

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), set up by resolution of the United Nations, publishes reports, which provide a scientific basis for the recommendations of the ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection) on radiological protection concerning ionizing radiation.

03.07.2019

The first meeting of the International Biophysics Collaboration took place at GSI and FAIR. More than 200 researchers, scientists and students from all over the world attended the three-day conference. The Collaboration exploits the opportunities offered by FAIR and other new accelerator facilities in biomedical applications of ion beams. Astronaut Reinhold Ewald was among the top-class speakers.(GSI Press release)

02.07.2019

Call for scientific proposals AO-IBER-2019 now open

18.06.2019

Celine Schielke won the poster award at the Young Scientists' GSI-FAIR Poster Colloquium 2019 with her poster "Ionizing radiation alters cerebral organoid formation".  The awards will be presented at the beginning of next week's GSI-FAIR Colloquium on Tuesday, June 25, at 16:15.

11.06.2019

Astronaut safety: Research by GSI and FAIR for the best protection from space radiation

It’s light, solid and could play an important role in future space missions into the depths of space: lithium hydride, a salt-like chemical compound of lithium and hydrogen. Crucial indications for the possible suitability of lithium hydride as a shielding material against cosmic radiation have now been found by research partners in Germany and Italy. The international team including the scientists Marco Durante, Christoph Schuy, Felix Horst and Uli Weber from the Department of Biophysics at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt as well as other partners has published its findings in the “Radiation Research” journal.

10.06.2019

Prof. Marco Durante nominated member for he ICRP

Prof. Marco Durante, Director of the Biophysics Department at GSI, has been nominated member of the International Commission of Radiological Protection (ICRP), the International organisation providing recommendations and guidance on radiological protection from ionising radiation.

Prof. Durante will join the Task Group 115 on Risk and Dose Assessment for Radiological Protection of Astronauts. The goal is to provide recommendations for the space agencies (including NASA, ESA, JAXA, Canadian, Russian and Chinese space agencies) on dose limits for astronauts in exploratory-class missions. In fact, at the moment different space agencies apply different career or mission-specific limits, making an International mission to moon and Mars essentially impossible.

31.05.2019

The radiation showstopper for Mars exploration

An astronaut on a mission to Mars could receive radiation doses up to 700 times higher than on our planet – a major showstopper for the safe exploration of our Solar System. A team of European experts is working with ESA to protect the health of future crews on their way to the Moon and beyond.

24.04.2019

The 22nd Annual Meeting of the German Society for Biological Radiation Research (DeGBS) will take place on 23-25 September 2019, in Mannheim under the scientific direction of PD Dr. Carsten Herskind. The topics of the conference cover a wide range from the mechanisms of biological radiation effects of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation to applications in radiation protection and radiotherapy.

The deadline for abstracts is May 27, 2019. More information about registration and abstract submission can be found on the meeting's homepage: https://degbs-2019.unikt-kongresse.de/

25.03.2019

Researching cosmic radiation: ESA and FAIR establish joint Summer School (GSI press release)

It is a new high-quality offer for international young scientists and at the same time a further important step for cosmic radiation research: The European Space Agency (ESA) and the international accelerator center FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research), which is currently being built at GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, will establish a joint Summer School for Radiation Research. The "ESA-FAIR Radiation Summer School" has now been initiated by decision of both institutions.

20.02.2019

Health risk from cosmic rays is a limiting factor for astronautical missions to the moon or Mars. A team of radiation biologists around Felicitas Rapp investigate

how radiation affects the brain and whether cannabis-like substances can protect astronauts from damage in an ESA and DLR-funded research project at the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt. More  (German only)

11.02.2019

The paper “Is the dose-averaged LET a reliable predictor for the relative biological effectiveness?” by Rebecca Grün, Thomas Friedrich, Erik Traneus and Michael Scholz has been selected as an Editors’ Choice Highlight for the February 2019 issue of the journal  “Medical Physics”; the article is available free-to-read here.

14.01.2019

Research on tumor therapy with oxygen ions: GSI doctoral candidate is honored

Clinical and radiobiological studies for tumor therapy with heavy ions began at GSI over 20 years ago. Today the objective of such research at GSI and FAIR is to continue improving this successful therapy and to use it in increasingly customized ways in medical applications. One of the researchers with this objective is Dr. Olga Sokol, a scientist in the Biophysics Department at GSI. One of the focuses of her research is the use of oxygen ions in tumor treatment. This was the main thrust of her doctoral dissertation, for which she was recently honored with the Giersch Award for outstanding doctoral dissertations in 2018. More

29.11.2018

Prof. Claudia Fournier has been appointed to the commission on radiological protection by the BMU for another two years.

22.11.2018

On November 22th, 2018 Dr. Patrick Wohlfahrt (OncoRay, TU Dresden), Tabea Pfuhl( Goethe-Univ. Frankfurt) and Dr. Christian Möhler (DKFZ Heidelberg) received the Christoph Schmelzer Award 2018. They were honored for their excellent Thesis on the field of tumor therapy using ion beams.

31.10.2018

Dr. Olga Sokol wins the Giersch Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis 2018

29.10.2018

The Association for the Promotion of Ion Therapy awards the 20th Christoph-Schmelzer-Preis for outstanding Master- and PhD-theses related to tumor therapy with ion beams this year to Tabea Pfuhl (Univ. Frankfurt), Dr. Christian Möhler (DKFZ Heidelberg) and to Dr. Patrick Wohlfahrt (Oncoray, TU Dresden). The award ceremony will take place on November 22, 2018 at 4:00 pm at GSI Darmstadt in the KBW lecture hall.

07.10.2018

Dr. Andreas Maier receives a CONCERT Travel Award to attend the HEIR Meeting 2018 in Paris.

10.10.2018

Marco Durante nominated Associated Editor of the International Journal of Radiation Biology

08.10.2018

The Publication Identification of the elementary structural Units of the DNA damage response Natale F., Rapp A., Yu W., Maiser A., Harz H., Scholl A., Grulich S., Anton T., Hörl D., Chen W., Durante M., Taucher-Scholz G., Leonhardt H., Cardoso M.C. reveived  from GBS (Gesellschaft für Biologische Strahlenforschung)a prize for "Best Paper of the Year

25.09.2018

The GSI biochemistry professor Gisela Taucher-Scholz has received this year’s Ulrich Hagen Award of the Gesellschaft für Biologische Strahlenforschung (German Society for Biological Radiation Research – GBS). The award presentation ceremony was held as part of the annual GBS congress at the Klinikum Frankfurt on September 17, 2018. The award certificate and a medal were presented by the President of GBS, Professor Michael Hausmann.

25.09.2018

Tabea Pfuhl won at the DGMP conference  (19.–22. September 2018, Nürnberg) an Award for an outstanding poster in the area of dosimetry in medical of radiation physics.

06.09.2018

Radon - Hazardous radiation in everyday life; "TV - Broadcast Planetwissen" from 5.9.18. A very interesting TV report about radon, with Prof. Dr. Claudia Fournier and Prof. Dr. GerhardKraft. (only in German)

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03.09.2018

20th Christoph-Schmelzer-Award. The Association for the promotion of ion therapy accepts nominations for the 20th Christoph-Schmelzer-Award for outstanding master (diploma) theses and PhD theses related to tumor therapy with ion beams. Deadline: September 30th, 2018. More

31.08.2018

20 years of tumor therapy: Clinical studies began in 1998

Twenty years ago, researchers at GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung began to conduct clinical studies of an innovative cancer treatment that used accelerated carbon ions. In August and September 1998, the first patients were treated with a complete course of carbon therapy for a period of three weeks. It was a starting point of a success story

that has led from fundamental research to a widespread medical application. More

28.08.2018

Carina Barent receives a Scholars-in-Training (SIT) Travel Award to attend the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Radiation Research Society in Chicago, USA.

3.08.2018

Ellen Janiel receives  a Travel Award to attend the 2018 Annual Meeting of the GBS in Frankfurt.

23.08.2018

Carina Barent receives a Travel Award to attend the 2018 Annual Meeting of the GBS in Frankfurt.

02.07.2018

Tabea Pfuhl riceived on June 29, 2018 from Walter-Greiner Gesellschaft zur Förderung der physikalischen Grundlagenforschung e.V.a prize for the best degree results in the faculty of physics in 2018.

29.05.2018

Dr. Thomas Friedrich receives the Early Career Investigator (ECI) Travel Award to attend the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Radiation Research Society in Chicago, USA.

09.05.2018

Susanne Tonnemacher's poster at Young Scientists' GSI-FAIR Poster Colloquium was awarded as best poster. She received the award on May, 8th  2018at the beginning of the GSI-FAIR Colloquium.

07.05.2018

Christian Graeff wins this year’s Günther-von-Pannewitz-Preis of the German Society for Radiooncology. The award is given for his work on the treatment of cardiac arrhythmia with ion beams, and the experiments conducted to this end at GSI. The prize will be awarded on the occasion of DEGRO Annual Congress in Leipzig on June 21, 2018 from 5.30 pm in the hall of the Congress Center Leipzig (CCL).

27.04.2018

Kick-Off meeting for “3D-PATH”: Very fast ion beam treatment with 3D printed Modulators"

On May 27th the Kick-Off meeting for the project “3D-Path” took place at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum in Darmstadt. 3D-Path is a consortium funded by the AiF (Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen) with approx. 1.1 Mio €. Three companies (PORTEC GmbH Zella-Mehlis, MedCom GmbH Darmstadt and messtronic GmbH St. Georgen-Langenschiltach) and three research institutes (Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen, Ernst-Abbe Hochschule Jena and GSI Helmholtz-zentrum) started a common project for the development of a new medical product for ion-beam therapy. 3D-printed filters with very fine structures will enable treatment of small and medium-sized tumors in a very short time of typically 1 second. This could be a break-through for the treatment of e.g. smaller lung tumours where organ movement makes the irradiation very difficult. The key of this technology is the high-precision 3D-printing and optimization of the individually shaped filigree needles of the filter.

GSI biophysics under the coordination of Uli Weber is developing a technique for measuring high resolution dose distributions produced by the new filters. Beam times for the tests of the filters will be conducted together with the Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen at the Marburg ion-beam therapy facility (MIT).

19.02.2018

The article ‘Systematics of relative biological effectiveness measurements for proton radiation along the spread out Bragg peak: experimental validation of the local effect model’ by Rebecca Grün et al. (Phys. Med. Biol., 62(3):890-908) has been selected as part of the Physics in Medicine & Biology Highlights of 2017. The Highlights are selected by the Editors and celebrate the quality and diversity of the papers that were published in 2017. A reflection of the most influential research published in PMB, the articles span some of the most cutting-edge areas of biomedical physics

15.02.2018

GSI/FAIR Press release

The Universe in the Laboratory: ESA and FAIR form partnership for researching cosmic radiation

One of the key questions that need to be addressed regarding the future of human spaceflight as well as robotic exploration programs is how cosmic radiation affects human beings, electronics, and materials. The detailed investigation of this topic is one of the main tasks that must be accomplished in order to provide astronauts and space systems with effective protection. To achieve this goal, the European Space Agency (ESA) will be cooperating closely in the future with the international accelerator center FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research GmbH), which is currently being built at GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt. On Wednesday, February 14, 2018, the two partners signed a corresponding cooperation agreement at the GSI and FAIR campus in Darmstadt.

By signing the agreement, ESA Director General Professor Johann-Dietrich Wörner and the FAIR Management Board, consisting of the Scientific Managing Director Professor Paolo Giubellino, the Administrative Managing Director Ursula Weyrich, and the Technical Managing Director Jörg Blaurock, sealed an international partnership that will open up far-reaching opportunities for new scientific findings. For example radiation is a showstopper for human missions to the Moon and Mars as well as for scientific missions to the depths of space. Also present was ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, one of the initiators of the cooperation.

07.02.2018

EPTN-Workshop

Members of the Work Package 6 „Radiobiology“ of the European Particle Therapy Network (EPTN), an ESTRO Task Force, will meet at GSI on February 8/9 to enhance the collaboration amongst the EPTN members and to discuss proposals for joint experiments and accompanying research activities.