Radiation-induced effects with particular emphasis on genetics, development, teratology, cognition as well as space-related health issues


The objective of this course is to provide a comprehensive summary of the biological effects of low and intermediate radiation doses, with particular emphasis on developmental effects caused by an irradiation of either the parental germ cells (hereditary effects) or the embryo at the various developmental stages. 

Beside hereditary and embryonic effects, a second and important part of the course will consist in an overview of the recent and current research performed at SCK CEN in the field of oncology, including a large-scale epidemiological study of cancer incidence and mortality among nuclear workers (in collaboration with IARC and WHO) and an introduction to new technologies for cancer treatment such as hadrontherapy or nanobody-based molecular radionuclide therapy. 

As SCK CEN is also much involved in space biology programmes, a third part of the course will be devoted to the various aspects covered by this research, from space radiation and dosimetry to space health effects or the control and use of microbes to support human life in space. These three main parts of the course will be completed with an introduction to the international advisory bodies (UNSCEAR and ICRP) as well as with other aspects of the research performed at the SCK CEN in the field of "non-cancer effects" of ionizing radiation or in radioecology. The lectures will be accompanied by a number of practical lessons and tutorials in the fields of developmental biology and molecular biology.


Target audience

This training course is open to postgraduate students and researchers working in the European Union, who are interested in radiation research.  This initiative facilitates and promotes training and education in support of the research programme in radiation protection in Europe, and also makes more widely available training opportunities in order to help attract top-level students into the field.



This training course could contain the following theoretical modules:

  • Basic radiobiology | Notions and units of doses in radiation protection 
  • Basic radiobiology | History of medical use for radiation purposes
  • Basic radiobiology | Radiation biomarkers : An overview
  • Molecular biology | Epigenetics in radiation biology
  • Molecular biology | New technologies in molecular biology
  • Molecular biology | Background for qRT-PCR experiment
  • Society | Introduction to the international advisory bodies UNSCEAR
  • Society | The ethics of justifying nuclear technology applications
  • Society | The making of the atomic bomb: from the atomists to the atomic
  • Development biology | Brain development + A mysterious conductor
  • Development biology | Prenatal effects of ionising radiation
  • Development biology | Fertility preservation strategies in female cancer patients
  • Development biology | Radiation-induced molecular effects in the embryo
  • Development biology | Radiation-induced teratogenesis: limb defects model
  • Development biology | Radiation-induced cognitive effects
  • Dosimetry | Medical dosimetry of newborn and paediatric patients
  • Cancer | Cancer etiology, classification and epidemiology
  • Cancer | Hallmarks of cancer
  • Cancer | Thyroid cancer
  • Cancer | Use of radiopharmaceuticals for radio-diagnostics and radiotherapeutics
  • Cancer | Introduction to hadrontherapy | Dosimetric , biological and clinical aspects
  • Cancer | Fundamental research in the field of hadrontherapy
  • Radiation-induced non cancer effects | Cardiovascular risks & current in-vitro & in-vivo models
  • Radioecology | A snapshot of a multidisciplinary science
  • Space | Introduction to space programmes
  • Space | Space radiation and dosimetry
  • Space | Space (radiation) health effect
  • Space | Impact of (cosmic) radiation on immune cell signalling
  • Epidemiology | Results of the IARC/WHO nuclear workers study regarding cancer mortality

The following practical modules can be offered during this course:

  • Development biology |Mating of mice for embryo cultures
  • Development biology |Control of vaginal plugs
  • Development biology |Dissection of pregnant mice
  • Development biology |Dissection of mouse ovaries and culture of oocytes at germinal vesicle stage
  • Development biology | In vitro culture of 1-cell embryos
  • Development biology | Immunofluorescence staining and phase contrast microscopy observations of neuronal cultures
  • Development biology | Staining of the chromosome preparations of the oocytes in 1st meiosis
  • Development biology | Observations of radiation-induced external and forelimb skeletal malformations in foetuses
  • Development biology | Observation of embryos at the 2-cell/morula/blastula stage
  • Development biology | Observation of meiotic chromosomes
  • Development biology | Brain dissection
  • Development biology | Neuron culture
  • Development biology | Fixation of oocytes in 1st meiosis
  • Development biology | Effect on neuron cells | Sectioning of the mouse eye and brain
  • Molecular biology | Genomic platform
  • Apoptosis | RNA extraction from irradiated whole blood, including quality control
  • Apoptosis | Reverse transcription of X-irradiated whole blood samples 
  • Apoptosis | Technical introduction about RNA extraction
  • Apoptosis | Radiation-induced gene expression in whole blood: quantitative PCR of DNA damage response and apoptosis genes
  • Space | Space microbiology : Control and use of microbes to support human life in space
  • Radioecology | Testing effects of radionuclides in the environment using an ecotoxicological approach
  • Tutorial | Biosafety 
 A technical visit to the SCK CEN animal facility can be included in the training course.



This course is given in English.



This 2-weeks training course is provided from 09h00 to 17h00, including two coffee breaks and lunch.

Next training course

View the calendar of customised training courses for the next training course in radiation-induced effects.