Stockholm university
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Radiation Biology and Cellular Toxicology

Humans and animals are constantly exposed to radiation and chemical toxicants. How do they damage cells? How do cells protect themselves and repair damage? What are the health consequences of exposure? You will learn what and how we know and what we do not know.

Warning signs, one for radiation and one for poison. A picture of a cell between the two signs.
Picture by Andrzej Wojcik

The course is an introduction to radiation biology and toxicology, with focus on cellular and molecular effects and health protection. It is based on lectures, laboratory work and tasks. You will gain theoretical as well as practical knowledge and learn how to carry out and interpret experiments with DNA damaging agents.

  • Course structure

    The course is both theoretical and practical. The topics will include:

    • Radiation physics and radiation chemistry, microdosimetry, dose concepts, medical use of radiation
    • Toxic substances, absorption, level of exposure, use of cytotoxic drugs (cytostatics) and other forms of cancer treatment within the clinic
    • Genome organization and function, endogenously and exogenously formed free radicals, DNA damage, DNA adducts, mutations, epigenetic effects, carcinogenesis and cell transformation, repair of DNA damage, mechanisms of cell death, Adverse Outcome Pathway concept (AOP)
    • Methods for measuring cytotoxicity, genotoxicity and mutations.
    • The importance of radiation quality for the biological effect.
    • Biological dosimetry, introduction to epidemiology, radiation accidents and their effects on health, risk perception. Protection issues against radiation and chemical substances, comparative risk assessment.


    Embedded in the course is a two-week European course also for PhD students and early career researchers financed by the project RadoNorm ( titled CELET: Cellular and genotoxic effects of high and low LET ionising radiation – introduction to radiation biology. You can read more about this part of the course under "More information" further down this page.

    Teaching format

    The course consists of lectures, laboratory exercises, group discussions, study visits, project work and seminars. Participation in laboratory exercises, group discussions, project work, seminars and group education associated with this is compulsory.

    Field exercises will include excursions to areas with naturally occurring ionizing radiation where measurements will be caried out and samples of radioactive minerals collected.

    Learning outcomes

    A list of the learning outcomes can be found in the syllabus. Please find the link to the syllabus on the right side of this page.


    Assessment of knowledge takes place through written and/or oral examination.


    Andrzej Wojcik (MBW)


    Tel: +46 8 16 1217

    Lovisa Lundholm (MBW)


    Tel: +46 8 4140

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    • Eric J Hall, Amato J Giaccia: “Radiobiology for the Radiologist” 8th edition 2018. Wolters Kluwer Health. ISBN 9781975114152
    • Patricia Frank, M. Alice Ottoboni “The Dose Makes the Poison: A Plain-Language Guide to Toxicology” 3rd edition 2011, Wiley. ISBN: 9780470381120
  • Course reports

  • More information

    CELET course

    Embedded in the course is a 2-week European course for PhD students and early career researchers financed by the project RadoNorm ( titled CELET: Cellular and genotoxic effects of high and low LET ionising radiation – introduction to radiation biology. The aim of CELET is to acquaint students with techniques of studying genotoxic effects of ionising radiation which are of relevance for radon and naturally occurring materials. The course contains both lectures and practical laboratory work. The lectures will focus on various aspects of biological effects of low and high LET ionising radiation as well as on techniques to detect them using cytogenetics and immunogenetics. The interaction of SU and foreign students during the course has been tested on several occasions during an earlier edition of the radiation biology course and has always been highly appreciated by the course participants.

  • Contact

    Student office
    Study counsellor for advanced level