History of the CMCR

History of the Center for High Throughput Minimally Invasive Radiation Biodosimetry

The Center for High Throughput Minimally Invasive Radiation Biodosimetry was founded in 2006 through a U19 grant from The National Institute of Allergies’ and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

In our first 5 years, we have focused on the three areas that we identified as having the highest potential for high-throughput biodosimetry. These were (and still remain):

Project 1: “Classical” endpoints (micronucleus and γ-H2AX),
Project 2: Transcriptomics,
Project 3: Metabolomics.

The major Achievements of the first 5 years were:

  • Project 1 has increased biodosimetry throughput using standard assays by two orders of magnitude.
  • Project 2 has clearly demonstrated, for the first time, the ability of a single gene set to predict radiation dose, throughout a significant window of time post exposure, without the need for individual pre-exposure controls.
  • Project 3 has clearly demonstrated the potential for urine-based metabolomics analysis of small molecules, whose concentrations change in a dose-response manner following radiation exposure, with a useful (> several days) biological lifetime.

In the second 5 years, we continued to develop practical high throughput biodosimetry systems to meet the demonstrated needs after a large-scale radiological event, focusing both on continued refinement of our existing assays and on the development of novel ones. In parallel, we are beginning to apply these assays to realistic irradiation scenarios and to probe of inter-individual variability.

Major achievements from the second cycle include:

  • Characterization of the cytogenetic, transcriptomic and metabolomic responses to the internal emitters 137Cs and 90Sr.
  • Development of an IND-spectrum neutron irradiator and characterization f the relative biological effectiveness of these neutrons for cytogenetic, transcriptomic and metabolomic endpoints.
  • Demonstration of transcriptomic and metabolomic signatures correlating with survival or death following an LD50 dose.