Fundamental Research Division
The DRF at the CEA assemble approximately 6,000 scientists since January 2016.
Radiobiology | Toxicology | Remediation | Nanotoxicology
Ionizing radiation causes a great variety of damage to cells. The most feared in the long term are those that affect DNA molecules (i.e. chromosomal rearrangements and mutations), which can cause serious defects. However, cells have several means to repair this damage. In order to study the biological response to ionizing radiation and possible functional disorders that may follow exposure, researchers at the DSV rely on the knowledge of mechanisms that maintain genome integrity, including signaling of DNA damage, DNA repair pathways, and mechanisms of the oxidative stress response.
Nuclear toxicology consists of studying the fate and impact of radionuclides and stable chemical compounds from the nuclear industry. In particular, this includes understanding their different modes of action on living organisms (animal or plant). For example, consequences of their contamination on human health will not be the same whether they are ingested, inhaled, or if they penetrate the skin. Researchers at the DSV rely on a fundamental understanding of tissue biology and metal metabolism, and they are dedicated to nanoparticle toxicology (nanotoxicology). In this field, they have reference tools at their disposal like carbon nanotubes (labeled with carbon-14 to facilitate their monitoring in the body), as well as models of biological barriers to characterize the interactions between nanoparticles and cellular environments. At the CEA, the 5 operational sectors (the Divisions of Life Sciences, Physical Science, Technological Research, Nuclear Energy, and Military Applications) are involved in toxicology and work together in a cross-cutting program run by the teams of the DSV.
Researchers from the CEA-Jacob (CNRGH) and their partners have described for the first time changes in placental DNA methylation associated with phthalate exposure during pregnancy. Their analysis used samples from the French mother-child cohort EDEN.
A team from the Iramis (CEA-CNRS) has shown that aluminosilicate nanotubes (imogolites) have an interesting potential for photocatalysis. These light-activated semiconductors could be functionalized to depollute water, in an environmentally friendly way.
When immersed in biological media, nanoparticles are immediately "wrapped" in proteins. A study conducted by researchers from the Iramis and Joliot (I2BC) institutes clarifies the importance of protein size on the formation of this envelope and recommends better consideration of this parameter in proteomic and nanotoxicological studies.
Researchers from the CEA-Jacob and Claude Bernard University have identified a new radiosensitivity signature in patients with severe side effects following radiotherapy.
The CEA-Jacob and his partners teamed to compare FLASH radiotherapy to conventional radiotherapy in the setting of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.