SUBJECT: Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
BY: Michael Bellamy
TIME: Thursday, June 14, 2012, 10:00 a.m.
PLACE: boggs, 3-47
TITLE: A Deterministic Model Of The Relative Biological Effectiveness Of Photons And Electrons
COMMITTEE: Dr. Nolan Hertel, Chair (ME)
Dr. Chris Wang (ME)
Dr. Armin Ansari (ME)
Dr. Robert Foley (ISYE)
Dr. Keith Eckerman (ME)


The ICRP recommends a radiation weighting factor of one for all low-LET radiation. However, many experimental studies find inconsistencies between low-LET RBE and the ICRP’s current radiation weighting factor. Generally, there is evidence that dependence exists between radiation energy and radiation RBE where lower energy radiations tend to have a greater biological effect that higher energy radiation. Specifically, the radiations of tritium and carbon K-shell X-rays have been studied in numerous experiments and the biological effects of both of these radiations are consistently greater than that of Co-60. In this work, the relationship between radiation energy and radiation effect has been investigated with the use of a newly developed DSB yield estimation algorithm. This algorithm makes use of a detailed solenoidal 30 nm DNA chromatin model to describe the radiation-sensitive biological target. In addition to the DNA model, NOREC, an event by event Monte Carlo code, was used in this algorithm to characterize the electron track. As an alternative to the conventional approach of computationally simulating DNA damage by spatial overlay of an electron track on DNA, this algorithm instead focuses on quantifying the distance between ionizations in an electron track and next determining the likelihood that any given ionization pair forms a DSB. The first step of the algorithm involves electron characterization while the second step relies on DNA molecule characterization. By assuming a DSB biological endpoint and determining the DSB yield as a function of electron energy, energy dependent RBE values were estimated for monoenergetic electrons from 10 eV to 1 MeV. Photon RBE values, X-Ray RBE values and radionuclide RBE values were also calculated and reported in this work in addition to electron RBE values. Photon RBE values were estimated based upon the electron RBE calculation. Photon RBE values were reported from 1 eV to 10 MeV. In turn, X-Ray RBE values were calculated based upon photon values for several tube voltage and filter combinations. Finally, RBE values for over 1000 radionuclides were estimated and reported.