Professor Peter O'Neill Receives 2014 Failla Award

Professor Peter O’Neill of the Department of Oncology, University of Oxford, has been awarded the 2014 Failla Award from the Radiation Research Society.

The Failla award was established in 1962-1963 to honour the late Gioacchino Failla, one of the founding fathers of the Radiation Research Society and its second president. The award is given annually to an outstanding member of the scientific community in recognition of a history of significant contributions to radiation research.

Peter’s research is concerned with the process of radiation-induced cluster DNA damage.  Ionising radiation may be considered as a two-edged sword since it can induce cancer and other adverse responses in normal tissue or it can lead to cellular inactivation, of considerable importance in radiotherapy.  In radiation oncology it is important to kill tumour cells but to minimise damage to normal tissue.  An important feature of ionising radiation is its ability to cause clusters of damage sites which are difficult to repair.

The objective of Peter’s research is to understand how these clusters of damage detrimentally interfere with the maintenance of the genetic code.  As a consequence, the effects of human exposure to radiation may be detrimental to health or lead to tumour cell death, which is of relevance to radiation oncology.

Peter will be presented with the award at the Radiation Research Society meeting in Las Vegas, USA, 21-24 September 2014.

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