Boris Odlozilik - Student Profile
Boris Odlozilik (He/Him)
Current research project
Biological effects of laser-accelerated proton bursts
Recent advancements in laser technology allowed for production of ultra-high dose rate (~10^10 Gy/s) proton pulses through high-power laser-matter interactions. The proton flux and energies are now sufficient for general radiobiological studies. Cells exposed to such extreme dose rates exhibit a significantly different behaviour to cells irradiated at conventional dose rates (~1 Gy/min). A number of experimental studies suggest that it might be possible to use these differences to transform the radiotherapy field and to improve clinical patient outcomes (e.g., through widening of the NTCP window). Most currently available high-dose rate radiobiological data, which resulted in exponential increase in interest in high-dose rate radiobiology in the past couple of years, were obtained at so called FLASH dose rates (~40-1000 Gy/s), generally with electrons. Laser-generated ultra-high dose rates (UHDR) are currently mostly uncharted territory and a lot more development (in laser technology and in radiobiological understanding of the involved biological effects) has to be done before any serious clinical application can even be considered. My research focuses on exploring biological effects of laser-based UHDR on glioblastoma cancer cells and normal fibroblast cells for comparison. Preliminary results suggest exciting differences in cell response (namely in cell killing effectiveness and DNA DSB damage induction and repair), which seem to be specific to this UHDR regime, accessible only through laser-based particle acceleration. Moreover, studying the UHDR biological effects can provide additional insight into the inner workings of cells and the mechanisms involved in FLASH effect, general response of cells to stress stimuli and its dependence on the dose rate. The potential for societal benefit through revolutionising radiation cancer treatments is apparent but practicality and financial feasibility of applying high-power laser systems in clinical practice remains to be elucidated.
I completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague, Czech Republic. While studying at CTU, my main topics of interest were radiation physics, various means of detecting radiation, dosimetry, applications of ionising radiation, and quantifying radiation induced effects on materials (e.g., activation and shielding) and organisms (e.g., cell survival and DNA damage kinetics). I realised that I enjoyed the radiobiological aspects of my research, and by getting deeper into this topic, I have found that there is still much to discover. Therefore, I was keen to pursue a research career in this field. During my Master’s degree, I worked as a Junior Researcher at ELI Beamlines in a group focused on laser‐driven ion acceleration and future medical applications. This proved to be an excellent opportunity as it allowed me to apply my knowledge of physics, biology and radiobiology, for example I was able to develop my understanding of laser and plasma physics, response of cells to radiation and other stress factors, and radiation transport Monte Carlo simulations. My interest was piqued in the biological effects of ultra‐high dose rate (UHDR) radiation and possible advantages of laser‐driven radiotherapy over conventional radiotherapy. This motivated me to undertake a Ph.D. degree at Queen’s University Belfast.
- Laser-based particle acceleration
- Dosimetry and detection systems
- Radiation protection