Linking the history of radiation biology evolution to the specific historical and current highlights of the radiobiology research at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN)

SCK•CEN Mentor

Baatout Sarah,, +32 (0)14 33 27 29

Expert group



Radiobiology was born out of the observations of ionising radiation on humans and other forms of life.

As a field of interdisciplinary sciences, radiobiology originated from Leopold Freund's 1896 demonstration of the therapeutic treatment of a hairy mole using a new type of electromagnetic radiation called x-rays, which was discovered 1 year before by the German physicist, Wilhelm Röntgen. In 1957, the institute of radiobiology was created at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre and very quickly important discoveries in radiation biology were performed within this institute.

Multidisciplinary radiobiological research forms the scientific basis of various disciplines such as radiation protection, radiotherapy and nuclear medicine. Consequently, radiobiology contributes to human health. The goal of radiobiological research in radiation protection is to better understand the effects of the radiation exposure at the cellular and molecular levels in order to determine the effects on health. The purpose of the research carried out in the unit of radiobiology is, for both national and international projects, to provide scientific knowledge to the authorities and to inform the population appropriately about the effects of ionizing radiation under normal or accidental circumstances.


This MSc thesis work is aiming at analyzing literature and archives from the radiobiology research performed at SCK•CEN (Belgian Nuclear Research Centre) since its early days, to highlight the important discoveries in radiation biology performed at SCK•CEN, to identify early SCK•CEN studies that exemplified how ionizing radiation affects health and how radiation was used experimentally to advance the understanding of radiation effects.

A literature and archive search would be performed to obtain relevant primary research to allow an organized, chronological account of the radiobiological advancements althrough the decades since 1957. The research will be reviewed in an order that flows from organismal to cellular to molecular effects and would describe the parallelism in the evolution of biological and medical knowledge and the role of the advancements of molecular technologies with time with the radiobiology as well as the radiotherapy fields. If possible, a comparative study of the advancements of radiobiology research at SCK•CEN compared to the rest of Belgium and worldwide would also be added to this work.

The minimum diploma level of the candidate needs to be

Master of sciences , Master of industrial sciences

The candidate needs to have a background in

Bio-engineering , Other , Biology , Communication , History, history of sciences