I am biologist who carried out my PhD in Radiobiology-Radiopathology at an cancer hospital, the Gustave Roussy institute in Villejuif near Paris which I obtained from the University of Paris XI - Orsay, France). Radiotherapy and many chemotherapeutics rely on DNA double-stranded break (DSB) formation to drive the killing of tumour cells over several cell division cycles but also damaging surrounding normal tissue cells. Using primary cultures of fibroblasts from patients, I worked on inter-individual radiation sensitivity and DSB repair. I identified the first radiotherapy patient whose radiation toxicity was due to a defect in DNA DSB repair which was thought to be almost incompatible with survival at the time; it was found later that the patient had a mutation in ligase IV. After several post-doctorate positions (one on p53 adenovirus and radiotherapy and one cell-cycle arrests following ionising radiation exposure), I became in 2005 the leader of the Cancer Mechanisms and Biomarkers group in the Radiation Effects department of Chemical, Radiation Environmental Hazards, UK Health Security Agency. Since 2023, I dedicate 50% of my time as head of the radiation effects department.

I have expertise in radiation carcinogenesis, especially leukaemia, developing models to detect cancers at an early stage early by tracking and monitoring the progression of initiated, 'pre-cancerous' cells (Verbiest T. et al. Leukemia 2018) or with a proneness to develop radiation-induced leukaemia (Brown N. et al. 2023) to get insight into the molecular mechanisms. I am interested in cancer genomics and the mutational signature left by ionising radiation in live cells and tissues. I have been associated with the first study on mutational signatures of ionizing radiation in second malignancies (Behjati S. et al Nature communications 2016). I have also interest in the effects of radiation exposure on the immune system as demonstrated by our recent publications on aging of the T-cell receptor repertoire (Candéias SM. et al. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2017) and on inflammatory gene expression following genotoxic cancer therapy (Manning G. et al Front Immunol. 2017);

Moreover, over the last 15 years, I have been working on the development of radiation biomarkers, mainly using human blood and more recently skin biopsies as sources of information. I worked on identifying and validating blood transcriptional biomarkers of radiation exposure which would be very useful in the event of a large-scale event leading to acute ionising radiation exposure where high-throughput methods would be required to rapidly assess individual biological dose estimates for triage purposes. We demonstrated its utility and robustness in several multi-centres' NATO and RENEB exercises. We recently performed nanopore sequencing to demonstrate that the technology can be used to detect radiation-inducible genes in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (Cruz-Garcia L. et al. 2019). The technology can lead to the development of a portable device which can overcome issues involving sample shipment.

I am also very interested in new technical developments to identify sub-populations of blood cells and extracellular vesicles as a source of new biomarkers of radiation exposure, susceptibility and toxicity.

I have published extensively on these topics, with over 110 peer reviewed publications.

Other roles

I have been involved in many radiation protection research projects and have significant involvement in radiation research in Europe such as MELODI (European Multidisciplinary European Low Dose Risk Research InitiativeI am a member of the scientific committee of the International Association of Biological and EPR Radiation Dosimetry (IABERD) and RENEB (European network of biological dosimetry, Realizing the European Network of Bio dosimetry). I am also a member of the Research Orientation Committee of the French Institute of Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) and a member of the scientific committee of the ASN (French Nuclear Safety Authority). I serve on Committee 1 of the international Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP).