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Author: Katarzyna Krukiewicz Published at: 04.07.2022 Last update: 04.07.2022

Life experiences of a radiation biologist: Between a curse and a cure

On Wednesday, July 6th, prof. Michael J. Atkinson, prof. em. Technical Universit Munich, ex-director Institute of Radiation Biology, Helmholtz, Germany will give a talk entitled: Life experiences of a radiation biologist: Between a curse and a cure. Prof. Atkinson is a member of the POB1 Advisory Board, a leading expert in molecular biology whose research focuses mainly on the safety of nuclear energy and the impact of radiation on the human body.

The summary of Prof. Atkinson’s research can be found here

We start as always at 4:00 pm CET (join Zoom meeting). An abstract of the talk you can find below:

The study of the effects of ionizing radiation on living things represents one of the greatest paradoxes of biology. On the one hand we society remains deeply concerned about the potential health effects of environmental and man-made radiation; yet on the other we willingly expose ourselves to radiation in a medical setting.

It is precisely this dichotomy that prompted me to follow a career in radiation biology. Over the last 5 decades my studies have encompassed: advising NASA on astronaut health; calming the public after the Fukushima incident; drafting government legislation to improve radiation protection; fighting text-book medicine saying brain and heart are impervious to radiation; searching for ways to improve long-term survival after radiation therapy and all the time discovering how little we really understand about how radiation affects the human body.

Would I do it again? Despite all the difficulties of the academic career path, the uncertainties of funding, the long hours, administrative roadblocks, vagaries of peer-review, etc. etc. In a heartbeat.

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