Dr. Dagmar Mayr


Employed as a Post Doc. at The Open University, United Kingdom (OU)
Start Date: 1st July 2003, End Date: December 2004

My background is in Ion physics. I did trace gas analysis of volatile organic compounds for my diploma and PhD thesis for four years. My thesis dealt with the development of quality control methods of food based on headspace measurements by Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass-Spectrometry (PTR-MS) and with aroma analysis of food using PTR-MS and Gas Chromatography-Olfactometry (GC-O).

After finishing my PhD I started working with Prof. Nigel Mason in the Epic Network. I am investigating radiation damage of biomolecules on a molecular level to find the molecular pathways that lead from initial deposition of radiative energy to the formation of double strand breaks and lesions in DNA. Damaged DNA, if not repaired, can lead to mutation and hence the development of cancers, however, the well controlled and selective destruction of DNA can also be used as a means to kill cancerous cells. The approaches currently used in radiotherapy cannot well distinguish between different DNA. They destroy all biomolecules and are not very efficient in targeting DNA bases that encode the genetic information causing cancer. Therefore a low-energy method to achieve selective DNA base damage is certainly desirable. We recently got an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) and are now about to apply it to observe and quantify DNA damage caused by UV and low-energy electron impact. We work together with the Chemistry Department here at the Open University as well as with other Network members. I recently visited the group of Prof. David Field in Aarhus/Denmark and collaborated with Prof. Tilmann Maerk’s group in Innsbruck/Austria on electron attachment to some biomolecules (5-Bromouridine and 5-Bromo-2’-deoxyuridine) and to water.