The raison d'etre of the Center for Radiological Research of Columbia University is to foster a multi disciplinary approach towards understanding the biological consequences of ionizing radiation exposures. The Center's staff includes professionals from fields as diverse as molecular biology, cell biology, radiation physics, computational physics, engineering and radiation oncology.
The Center has signed on as a member of the International Consortium for the Promotion of Radiation Life Sciences organized by the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences of Nagasaki University, Japan. The Center now joins eight other international institutions with the aim of promoting international collaboration in radiation research and education.
Sponsored by a grant from NASA, we were able to show that mice haploinsufficient for the atm gene were more susceptible to ocular cataracts induced by heavy Fe ions than their wild-type counterparts.
The tumor suppressor function of the Betaig-h3 gene, originally established in human lung cancer samples, has now been extended to two other major tumor types including prostate and breast. These findings provide a potential diagnostic and therapeutic target in the management of these cancers.
Based on mechanistic findings that arsenic-induced genetic damages are mediated by reactive oxygen species (PNAS: 1998 and 2001), clinical trails to ascertain the chemo-preventive effects of selenium and vitamin A in the management of arsenic induced keratosis have been initiated by Columbia investigators in collaboration with WHO in Bangladesh.
The observation that short term, low doses of sodium arsenite treatment can induce a high frequency of apoptosis in metastatic melanoma that are non-responsive to radiotherapy and chemotherapy provides a new ray of hope for patients. The finding is being highlighted in the Dean's 2003 annual report.
The Columbia microbeam continues to be a major research resource for the Center. Recent findings include the detection of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in targeted cytoplasmic irradiation, which mediate the genotoxic response in the nucleus of the irradiated cells, the ability of cytoplasmic irradiation in the induction of a bystander response, and the identification of specific genes that are associated with bystander mutagenic signaling.
The productivity of the Center continues at a high level, as evidenced by a steady stream of scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, including several in high profile journals. Members of the staff are frequently invited to participate in national and international meetings, and are frequently called upon to serve as consultants, reviewers or site visitors by government agencies.
The teaching activities of the Center include the teaching of radiation biology and radiation physics to undergraduates, medical students, and graduate students in the School of Public Health, and to residents in both Radiology and Radiation Oncology, as well as a City-wide course for residents in Radiology.
The Center for Radiological Research was founded at Memorial Hospital in 1915. G. Failla served as the director from 1915 until 1960. In 1944 the Center for Radiological Research moved to Columbia University. In 1960 H.H. Rossi became the director and served in that position until 1984. Since 1984 E.J. Hall serverd as director for 25 years. D.J. Brenner has been the director since 2008.
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