Unraveling radiation damage of microsolvated biomolecules

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Marcel Mudrich


Aarhus University


DKK 4,412,000




Semper Ardens: Accelerate


Living organisms are constantly exposed to radiation, which can be both beneficial (radiotherapy) and detrimental (radiation damage). The goal of this project is to unravel how radiation damage occurs on the molecular scale - and how we may control it for targeted cell protection or destruction.


Today we know that radiation damage of living tissue such as irreparable strand breaks in DNA, is mainly caused by secondary species instead of the primary radiation. But the elementary processes of formation of secondary species, in particular slow electrons, are only now being explored. To devise new strategies for protecting against radiation damage or for using it in a controlled way, it is essential to understand it in detail and on the scale of atoms and molecules.


Using synchrotron radiation, we will probe isolated biomolecules and specifically designed complexes thereof with regard to their response to ionizing radiation (ultraviolet up to x-ray). By detecting electrons, ions and photons created by the radiation, we will get detailed insights into the elementary steps leading to radiation damage.

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