Atomistic Simulation Centre
Department of Physics and Astronomy
School of Mathematics and Physics
Queen's University Belfast
Belfast BT7 1NN
Tel: +44 (0) 28 9097 1428
Fax: +44 (0) 28 9097 3110
- Radiation damage in biological systems
I am currently completing the final year of my PhD on radiation damage to DNA.
In particular I have been working on the low energy secondary effects of electrons
interacting with DNA components. Our recently published paper
[M Smyth and J.J Kohanoff, Phys. Rev. Lett., 106, 238108 (2011)] has attempted to bridge
the gap between the gas phase calculations and in vivo DNA. We believe that it is vital
to include a thermally fluctuating and fully solvated environment in order to realistically
model DNA strand breaks.
DNA damage caused by irradiation has been studied for many decades. Motivations include
assessing the dangers posed by radiation, and understanding how to improve its efficiency
in combating cancer. Surprisingly, low energy electrons (3eV) play an important role in
this damage. My work aims to understand the behaviour of DNA components in the condensed
phase, due to the presence of such electrons.