PHYSICS 7550 - Radiation Biology, Protection & Epidemiology

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2022

The aim of this on-line course is to provide an understanding of the effects of radiation in vivo, operational health physics, radiation protection and epidemiological methods appropriate for practice as a medical or health physicist. The reading-tutorial course consists of 25 topics covering various aspects of Radiation Biology, Protection and Epidemiology. Lecture notes are available on the internet. Topics include: radiation protection quantities, risk and exposure, radiation chemistry, biological effects of radiation on cells and tissues, dose fractionation, Linear Energy Transfer, Relative Biological Effectiveness, clinical radiobiology, sources of radiation, Radon-222 and its daughters, medical exposure, man-made & industrial sources of radiation, survivors of radiation exposure, health effects of low levels of ionising radiation, early and late effects from high doses of radiation, shielding calculations in medical equipment installations, radiation safety in the laboratory and clinical environment, personnel protection and monitoring, radiation protection legislation, genetic effects and risks, introduction to epidemiology, association vs causation, non-ionising radiation risks and radiation epidemiology.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHYSICS 7550
    Course Radiation Biology, Protection & Epidemiology
    Coordinating Unit School of Physical Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 2 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge PHYSICS 7011
    Biennial Course Course offered in even years
    Assessment Workshop preparation, assignments, exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Alexandre Santos

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On completion of this course, students should be able to:

    1 explain basic concepts and principles of radiation biology and radiation protection;
    2 discuss biological effects of radiation;
    3 explain basic concepts and principles of radiation therapy;
    4 discuss legislation regarding radiation protection;
    5 describe genetic and epidemiological aspects of radiation exposure
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    • E. Hall, Radiobiology for the radiologist, 5th ed, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000
    • G. G. Steel, Basic clinical radiobiology, 3rd ed, Oxford University Press Inc, 2002
    • The SA Radiation Protection and Control Act, 1982
    • Radiation Protection and Control (Ionizing Radiation) Regulations, 2000
    • Radiation protection and control (Transport of Radioactive Substances) Regulations, 2003
    Recommended Resources
    • BEIR V – Health effects of exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation, National Academy Press, Washington, 1990
    • J. Kiefer, Biological Radiation Effects, Springer-Verlag, 1990
    • UNSCEAR 1972, 1977, 1982, 1986
    • T. Alper, Cellular radiobiology, Cambridge University Press, 1979
    • I. Tannock, RP Hill, The basic science of oncology, 3rd ed, McGraw-Hill, 1998
    • T. E. Wheldon, Mathematical models in cancer research, Adam Hilger Publisher, Philadelphia, 1988
    • R. Beaglehole, R. Bonita, T. Kjellstrom, Basic epidemiology, World Health Organization, 1993
    Online Learning
    It is important that all students maintain active communication channels with the Physics Discipline throughout the year. The primary communication channels from the Discipline to students are MyUNI and Email.

    Weekly workshops are delivered via teleconference link for remote students.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Students are introduced to course content through lecture and independent reading. They develop their understanding through discussion, independent and group problem solving and completing assignments.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A full-time student should expect to spend, on average, a total of 48 hours per week on their studies. This includes the formal contact time required for the course (e.g. lectures: 3 hours/week, tutorials: 1 hour/week, practicals: 3 hours/fortnight), as well as non-contact time (e.g. reading and revision). For a 3-unit course, the expected workload would be, on average, 12 hours per week.

    To complete their studies successfully, students are expected to attend all scheduled lectures, tutorials and compulsory practical classes, as well as commit additional time to individual study, group study and the completion of assessment tasks. For a student to satisfactorily complete the academic requirements of a typical 3-unit course, a minimum TOTAL time commitment of 12 hours per week is expected (i.e. contact PLUS non-contact time). In addition, students should expect to study for one week of the two-week mid-semester break, as well as during swot week and the examination period.

    Learning Activities Summary
    Course material for the 24 modules is delivered online via MyUNI. Internal and external students work through 2 modules per week and prepare answers to associated questions. Students clarify and extend their understanding at workshops attended in person, by teleconference or by telephone.

    Coursework Content
    1. Radiation Interaction with Matter
    2. Radiation Protection Quantities
    3. Risk and Exposure
    4. Biological Effects of Radiation I
    5. Biological Effects of Radiation II
    6. Tumour Development and Behaviour during Treatment I
    7. Tumour Development and Behaviour during Treatment II
    8. The Radiobiology of Normal Tissue
    9. Predictive Assays and Treatment Assessment
    10. Modelling in Radiobiology
    11. Sources of Radiation I
    12. Sources of Radiation II
    13. Radiation Incidents and Radiation Accidents
    14. Risk: Health Effects of Low Levels of Ionising Radiation
    15. Early Effects from High Doses of Ionising Radiation
    16. Shielding Calculations in Medical Radiation Equipment Installation
    17. Personnel Protection and Radiation Monitoring
    18. Elements of Clinical Radiobiology
    19. SA Radiation Protection Legislation I
    20. SA Radiation Protection Legislation II
    21. Basic Epidemiology
    22. Causation in Epidemiology 
    23. Radiation Epidemiology
    24. Exposure to Radon Decay Products
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task
    Type of Assessment
    Percentage of Total Assessment
    Objectives Being Assessed / Acheived
    Workshop preparation Formative and Summative 10% No 1 - 5 (Not all workshops will assess every objective)
    Assignments Formative and Summative 40% No 1 - 5 (Not all workshops will assess every objective)
    Examination Summative 50% No 1 - 5
    Assessment Related Requirements
    To obtain a grade of Pass or better in one of these courses, a student must:
    • Attend the examination.
    Failure to meet these requirements (or not achieving the minimum mark for each learning requirement) will result in a grade of Fail (F).

    To be eligible for a replacement examination on academic grounds a student must attend at least 60% of the workshops.
    Assessment Detail
    The end-of-semester examination will be based primarily on lecture/tutorial material.

    Workshops will be held weekly.

    Absence from Classes due to illness (or other valid reason)
    If you miss a laboratory session or are unable to attend a tutorial due to illness (or any other valid reason) you will need to fill out a form within 3 working days of your missed session. All forms are available from the School Office or on MyUNI.

    Submission of Assigned Work
    Coversheets must be completed and attached to all submitted work. Coversheets can be obtained from the School Office (room G33 Physics) or from MyUNI. Work should be submitted via the assignment drop box at the School Office.

    Extensions for Assessment Tasks
    Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a supplementary examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Coordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time.

    Penalty for Late Submission of Assessment Tasks
    Assessment tasks must be submitted by the stated deadlines. There will be a penalty for late submission of assessment tasks: the submitted work will be marked ‘without prejudice’ and 10% of the obtained mark will be deducted for each working day (or part of a day) that an assessment task is late, up to a maximum penalty of 50% of the mark attained. An examiner may elect not to accept any assessment task that a student wants to submit after that task has been marked and feedback provided to the rest of the class. This procedure does not apply to the MyUni quizzes which must be completed before the deadlines.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.