Report on Activities of COST action P9
RADAM 2004-5

Scientific Progress

A full scientific review is in preparation for the mid term review of the Action at the RADAM06 Meting to be held in Groningen, Netherlands 6th-9th June. There have been several notable scientific advances by members of the RADAM Community in 2004-5.

WG1 The Actionís study of electron impact with biomolecules has received particular attention with several PRL publications from Institut fuer Ionenphysik, Leopold Franzens Universitaet and Frei Universitaet Berlin on dissociative attachment to nucleotide bases receiving coverage in the international media. A complementary theoretical calculation (performed byLa Sapienza University Rome) on the dynamics of Uracil fragmentation after electron attachment has likewise been published in PRL and received widespread publicity. These results provide significant consequences for the molecular description of genotoxic effects in living cells due to low-energy electrons, which are found to be the most abundant secondary species formed from ionizing radiation. Several other groups have (or are) developing these studies using STSMs to visit one another and transfer techniques and skills (e.g. Open university in the UK, Aarhus University Denmark, New University of Lisbon , CSIC Madrid and Charles University Prague). The development of this research field was progressing rapidly and several of their partners had received National funding to develop this work. All WG1 members stressed the advantages of a forum for discussion of ideas and interchange of staff provided by STSMs.

WG2 In similar way to WG1 had developed a series of collaborative projects with Groningen, Queens University of Belfast and GNIL Caen cooperating on ion impact studies of nucleotide bases and, co-operating with HMI Berlin and ATOMKI Hungary, in the study of ion induced fragmentation of water. Several joint publications were in preparation. The collaborative work in Groningen had also led to the exciting potential observation of Watson-Crick pair in clusters of the nucleotide bases. Once again the ability to co-ordinate such work through STSMs was highlighted.

WG3 had encouraged a wide variety of visits and collaborations in several areas of Radiation damage including free radical chemistry, protein damage and DNA damage studies as well as several in vivo experiments. Several publications were now appearing that would not have occurred without the incentive and opportunity for joint research led by the COST Action. WG3 team members had also been in contact with major US groups who expressed their admiration for the COST Action and sought to find ways to take part.

WG4 had supported several exchanges and there was now a growing programme to explore and develop computational methods for calculating the electronic states of biomolecules and studying biomolecular fragmentation patterns under different ionizing radiations. This work was also allowing interpretation of experimental results in WG1 and WG2.

WG5 was the smallest of the WGs and had been less active in 2004 in part because it required data from WG1-4 before it could develop its models. The role of low energy electrons in promoting DNA damage was being investigated and electron transport in DNA highlighted as a topic for further investigation.