Radiation Biology and Human Health

ENEA carries out research and innovation activities and provides advanced services on ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. ENEA also develops products, processes and methodologies aimed at understanding the harmful effects and mechanisms of action of noxious chemical and physical agents. This scientific and technical knowledge enables to cope with radioprotection problems and to develop health technologies, thus allowing the national industrial sector to grow and supporting the mission of the Institutions devoted to public health protection.

Activities are mainly focused on:

Biology of ionizing and non-ionizing radiations:

  • Radiobiology on cellular and animal models
  • Development of animal models for the evaluation of damaging effects and exposure risks
  • Evaluation of exposure to non-ionizing radiation at different frequencies (0-300 GHz) and dose quantification in biosystems
  • Studies on thermal and non thermal effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields
  • Evaluation of the immune response regulation
  • Studies to evaluate the risk of exposure to low-dose cosmic radiation
  • Evaluation of individual radiosensitivity


  • New oncology and clinical therapy technologies
  • Identification of the molecular mechanisms in the pathogenesis of inflammatory processes
  • Dose quantification in biological targets irradiated by ionizing radiation at different energy levels
  • Setting up particle accelerators and radiation generators for medical (radiotherapy, adrotherapy) and industrial applications
  • Setting up radiogenic systems for medical, industrial and research applications


  • Development and experimental application of methodologies to detect cellular and molecular mechanisms of genetic and reproductive damages due to exposure to radiations and other noxious agents
  • Biomonitoring of exposed populations
  • Epidemiological studies to evaluate the health status of populations living in different environmental contexts

Biotechnologies and biopharmaceutical products:

  • Advanced biotechnologies exploiting plants as "biofactories" for recombinant pharmaceuticals
  • Design of scientific, technological and industrial platforms devoted to the production of new molecules from plants and cell cultures
  • Development of biopharmaceutical products for vaccines, diagnostics, targeted-therapy or molecular imaging.


More information:

Annual report 2010 of UTBIORAD





Contained greenhouse designed for growing plants
engineered to produce pharmaceutical proteins


Non-ionizing electromagnetic fields: Set up of exposure systems for biological studies (cell TEM system, from GSM to WiFi), and evaluation of potentially harmful effects



Assessment of DNA damage response in male germ
cells exposed to ionizing radiation or chemical
mutagens (A) Immunohistochemical detection of
g-H2AX foci in mouse testicular sections. (B)
Flow cytometric analysis of DNA content and level
of histone H2AX phosphorylation in mouse testicular
cells. (C) DNA strand breaks detected by comet assay
in spermatozoa.


Patched1 heterozygous mice used for radiation bystander tumorigenesis protocol