Radiological Science in the Context of Radiological Terrorism

a free, online resource

updated September 30, 2010

Program Description

This course has been tailored to educate people at all levels who may be called upon to respond to a radiological event, particularly in the context of current radiological terrorism issues. The curriculum does not assume any previous knowledge of radiation effects and has been designed to encourage the exchange of information with a format of lecture presentations from representative experts in the various disciplines required to understand the risks and prepare a response for a radiological terrorism event. To enhance the objectives, time will be given for audience participation.


Target Audience


Course Objectives

At the end of this course, participants will understand:



The nature of radiological terrorism   David Brenner (Columbia University)

This topic will describe a) the physical nature of radiation and b) the various possible scenarios, including “dirty bombs” that may be involved in a radiological incident.

Basics of radiation biology

This topic will discuss the types of damage induced in DNA and other cellular compartments by ionizing radiation, how cells process this damage, and how to detect this resulting damage.

  Sally Amundson (Columbia University)

Radiation epidemiology

This topic will survey the information on radiation-induced cancer in human populations from high and low doses and will describe techniques to obtain risk estimates for radiation-induced cancer from population studies.

  Elaine Ron (National Cancer Institute)

Acute somatic effects of radiation

This topic will review the types of damage induced in DNA and other cellular compartments by ionizing radiation, and how cells process this damage.

  John Little (Harvard University)

Long-term radiation effects

This topic will discuss the long-term effects of radiation. Effects to be discussed include carcinogenesis, hereditary effects, cataractogenesis, and consequences to the developing embryo and fetus.

  Eric Hall (Columbia University)

Anticipated psychological impact of radiological terrorism

Psychological trauma probably is one of the greatest risks for individuals in a "dirty bomb" scenario. This topic will highlight the symptoms and treatment modalities in the context of a radiological terrorism event.

  Ann Norwood (University of Pittsburgh
Medical Center)

Emergency Preparedness

This topic will survey the general aspects of preparedness for unexpected emergencies, based on the “all-hazards” approach. The relationship between healthcare providers and public health, planning considerations, inter-organizational relationships, and the concept of incident command/incident management will be discussed.

  Stephen Morse (Columbia University)



Sally A. Amundson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Center for Radiological Research, Columbia University

David J. Brenner, Ph.D., D.Sc., Higgins Professor of Radiation Biophysics and Director, Center for Radiological Research, Columbia University; Director, Center for High-Throughput, Minimally-Invasive Radiation Biodosimetry

John B. Little, M.D., James Stevens Simmons Professor of Radiobiology, Emeritus,  Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health

Stephen S. Morse, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Ann Norwood, MD, COL, USA, MC (Ret.) , Senior Associate, Center for Biosecurity, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Elaine Ron, Ph.D., M.P.H., Senior Investigator, Radiation Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health

Last modified by CE on September 30, 2010.