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EPS Nuclear Physics Division - IBA Europhysics Prize

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The Nuclear Physics Division of the EPS awards the IBA-Europhysics Prize in Applied Nuclear Science and Nuclear Methods Medicine.

The IBA is sponsored by IBA and was first offered in 2004. Thereafter it has been offered in each odd year (2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011).

2015 IBA-Europhysics Prize
The call for nominations is now open. Click here for more information.

Prize winner 2013

The winner of the 2013 IBA-Europhysics prize for Applied Nuclear Science and Nuclear Methods and Nuclear Researches in Medicine is Prof. Marco Durante (Director of the Biophysics Department at GSI Helmholtz Centre, Darmstadt, Germany).

Prof Durante has been awarded the prize for his outstanding and seminal contributions to research topics in the field of radiation biophysics, including work in clinical and space radiobiology, particle genetic damage and therapy, and his valuable activities in the scientific community."

Prof. Durante has had a long and distinguished career in radiation biophysics. Starting with his PhD (Naples 1988) in this field, he has gone on to become a world-leading authority in radiation biophysics.

He devised a method to detect and measure biological effects of charged-particles on cells using solid state nuclear track detectors. Following irradiation with He-ions, cells were incubated and the colonies analysed to determine the fraction surviving irradiation. He spent many years analysing chromosomal aberrations induced by heavy ions. At NASA Johnson Space Center, he combined the methods of premature chromosome condensation (PCC) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to study the formation of chromosomal aberrations in human cells. The results proved that the kinetics of formation of chromosomal aberrations after heavy ions has the same mechanism and follows the same shape as for sparsely ionizing radiation, although quantitative differences were observed.

He applied modern techniques including mFISH, mBAND, and RxFISH to cells exposed to heavy ions and his studies pointed out qualitative differences in the aberrations induced by heavy ions, particularly a large increase in complex-type exchanges.

He developed a novel technique, together with Dr. Eisuke Gotoh, for premature chromosome condensation, based on the action of a phosphatise inhibitor, calyculin A. The method is now largely used in biodosimetry, after exposure to heavy ions.

Prof Durante is a leading expert in biological effects of space radiation, and advises ESA on radiobiology. Since 2000 he has lead a large International Collaboration including European, Japanese and US research centres for studying biological effects of shielded heavy ions. These studies helped demonstrate that light, hydrogen rich materials, such as polyethylene, are more effective than high-Z materials for protection from cosmic rays.

He has worked on biodosimetry in astronauts working with Russian cosmonauts involved in long-term space missions. The study of chromosomal aberrations led to the observation that the radiosensitivity decreases in later flights, compared to the first mission, pointing to a possible acquired radioresistance induced by exposure to space flight.

Prof. Durante's expertise in the biophysics of heavy ions has also been applied in several studies dealing with cancer hadrontherapy. At the Chiba National Institute for Radiological Center (Japan), he studied tissue samples from similar patients treated with either X-rays or high-energy carbon ions. The comparison demonstrated that, although C-ions are more effective in the induction of genetic damage per unit dose, the damage in the patient is reduced, because of the better dose localization and minimized normal tissue damage in hadrontherapy. This research is continuing at GSI where recent work has focused on issues involving moving targets.

The 2013 IBA-Europhysics Prize was presented to Prof Durante by Mr Thomas Servais, R&D Manager for Accelerator Development at the IBA Group, which sponsors the prize, at a ceremony on 7th June 2013 during the International Nuclear Physics Conference (INPC), held in Florence, Italy. Dr Douglas MacGregor, Chair of the IBA Prize Committee and Chair-elect of the EPS Nuclear Physics Division, presented a diploma on behalf of the EPS.

Prize winners of previous years

2011 Dr Elisabetta Boaretto (Radiocarbon Dating and Cosmogenic Isotopes Lab, Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science Weizmann Institute of Science and Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology Dept, Bar Ilan University, Israel)
"in recognition of her significant contribution to the development of precise quality controlled radiocarbon dating and the application of accelerator mass spectrometry." The Prize was awarded at the 2011 ARIS Conference on Advances in Radioactive Isotope Science held 29 May to 3rd June 2011 in Leuven, Belgium.

2009 Prof. Pier Andrea Mandò (Department of Physics, University of Florence and INFN)
for "Outstanding and seminal contributions to the application of the Ion Beam Analysis techniques in the field of Cultural Heritage studies, favouring the birth of a new interdisciplinary research area that bring together scientific and humanistic skills."
The Prize was awarded at the 2009 Ion Beam Analysis Conference held 7-11 September in Cambridge, UK.

2007 Dr. Dieter Schardt (GSI, Germany) and Prof. Wolfgang Enghardt (Center for Radiation Research in Oncology, Medical Faculty, T. U. Dresden )
for "Outstanding contributions to the development of tumour therapy with heavy ions, providing detailed information on the interaction of ions with biological tissues and novel techniques for treatment quality assurance".
The 2007 IBA Prize was presented during the 9th ECAART (European Conference on Accelerators in Applied Research and Technology) in Firenze, Italy, September 3-7, 2007.

2005 Werner Heil (Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Germany) and Pierre Jean Nacher (Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, ENS Paris, France)
for "the development of spin polarized 3He targets by optical pumping and their applications in nuclear science and medicine: nuclear physics, neutron low temperature physics and medicine".

2004 Guy Demortier (Laboratoires d'Analyses par Réactions Nucléaires, Facultés Universitaires Notre Dame de la Paix, 61 rue de Bruxelles, B 5000 Namur)
"For outstanding and innovative research in many and various fields of applied nuclear physics namely in new materials, catalysts, biological material, archaeology and nuclear medicine and, most notably, resulting in ways to improve PET-scans ."

Professor Durante

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