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Atomistic Simulation Centre (ASC)

Modelling Matter at the Atomic Scale

School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast

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Maeve Smyth

PhD Student


Room A4
Atomistic Simulation Centre
Department of Physics and Astronomy
School of Mathematics and Physics
Queen's University Belfast
University Road
Belfast BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland

Tel: +44 (0) 28 9097 1428
Fax: +44 (0) 28 9097 3110

Current Interests

  • 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.

Recent Publications