Ultra-high dose rate radiobiology

The advancement of radiotherapy relies on radiobiological research providing mechanistic understanding and validation of new ideas prior to patient treatment. Following the translational chain, new methods and techniques are firstly studied in cells, followed by animal models of increasing complexity and concluded in clinical trials. Our team is specialized in establishing preclinical models to answer radiotherapy-related questions, especially for particle therapy research.
The discovery of ultra-high dose rate radiation effects such as the FLASH-effectFavaudon have sparked intensive radiobiology research worldwide. Flash-RT promise the protection of normal tissue by high dose rate radiotherapy, while simultaneously not altering tumour control. The optimistic prospect of better cancer cure and improved quality of patient life give rise to manifold preclinical studies on the parameters and mechanisms of the Flash effect.

Foto: Dresden Platform ©Copyright: HZDR
Foto: ZFE with scaling ©Copyright: PD Dr. Elke Beyreuther

Dresden platform for high dose-rate radiobiology (right) comprises the different accelerators used by the team for radiobiological research: the clinical electron Linacs of the University Hospital Radiation Therapy Department, the proton cyclotron of the University Proton Therapy Dresden, the ELBE electron research accelerator and the Draco laser driven electron and proton beams. Moreover, the platform also includes groups working on beam transport and dose delivery, beam monitoring and dosimetry, biological research infrastructure and biological models, altogether necessary requirements for meaningful radiobiological studies. One

The Dresden Platform offers a unique environment for studying the FLASH effect, with an unprecedented range of electron and proton dose rates (up to 109 Gy/s). In close cooperation with group of Laser-Radiooncology at Oncoray - National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology and the groups of Laser-driven Ion acceleration and Application-oriented laser-plasma accelerators) at DRACO, the team contributes to FLASH radiotherapy research investigating beam interactions across physico-chemical and biological timescales. To enable the study of radiobiological effects of ultra-high dose rates, but also clincal dose delivery, the team develop and validate dedicated cell and animal models for tumor and normal tissue response.


Foto: Elke Beyreuther ©Copyright: PD Dr. Elke Beyreuther

PD Dr. Elke Beyreuther

Teamleader, Radiobiologist


Fon: (+49) 351 - 260 3935 (HZDR)

Fon: (+49) 351 - 458 7436 (Oncoray)

ORCID: 0000-0002-0582-1444

Foto: Moritz Schneider ©Copyright: Moritz Schneider, Katja Storch

MSc Moritz Schneider

PhD Student, Physicist

Topic: Small-animal image-guided proton therapy (SmAIPT)

Fon: (+49) 351 458 7...

ORCID: 0000-0003-2233-0660

Foto: Elisabeth Leßmann ©Copyright: Elisabeth Leßmann

Ms Elisabeth Leßmann

Lab technician

Cell culture and lab techniques, zebrafish embryo handling and analysis

Fon: (+49) 351 260 2193 (Office)

Fon: (+49) 351 260 3734 (Lab, ELBE-building)



Horst F, Brand M, Hans S, Karsch, L, Lessmann E, Löck S,  Schürer M, Pawelke J, Beyreuther E (2023) Zebrafish Embryo Model of the FLASH Effect. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 115.4, 1006-1007.

Horst, F, Beyreuther, E, Bodenstein, E, Gantz, S, Misseroni, D, Pugno, NM, Schuy, C, Tommasino, F, Weber, U and Pawelke, J, Passive SOBP generation from a static proton pencil beam using 3D-printed range modulators for FLASH experiments. Frontiers in Physics, 11, p.1213779.


Kroll F, Brack FE, Bernert C, Bock S, Bodenstein E, Brüchner K, Cowan TE, Gaus L, Gebhardt R, Helbig U, Karsch L, Kluge T, Kraft S, Krause M, Lessmann E, Masood U, Meister S, Metzkes-Ng J, Nossula A, Pawelke J, Pietzsch J, Püschel T, Reimold M, Rehwald M, Richter C, Schlenvoigt HP, Schramm U, Umlandt MEP, Ziegler T, Zeil K, Beyreuther E (2022) Nature Physics 18, 316-22

Jansen J, Beyreuther E, García-Calderón D, Karsch L, Knoll J, Pawelke J, Schürer M, Seco J (2022)  Changes in Radical Levels as a Cause for the FLASH effect: Impact of beam structure parameters at ultra-high dose rates on oxygen depletion in water. Radiotherapy and Oncology 175, 193-19

Karsch L, Pawelke J, Brand M, Hans S, Hideghéty K, Jansen J, Lessmann E, Löck S, Schürer M, Schurig R, Seco J, Szabó ER, Beyreuther E (2022) Beam pulse structure and dose rate as determinants for the flash effect observed in zebrafish embryo. Radiotherapy and Oncology 173, 49-54


Pawelke J, Brand M, Hans S, Hideghéty K, Karsch L, Lessmann E, Löck S, Schürer M, Szabó ER, Beyreuther E (2021) Electron dose rate and oxygen depletion protect zebrafish embryos from radiation damage. Radiotherapy and Oncology.

Jansen J, Knoll J, Beyreuther E, Pawelke J, Skuza R, Hanley R, Brons S, Pagliari F, Seco J (2021) Does FLASH deplete Oxygen? Experimental Evaluation for Photons, Protons and Carbon Ions. Medical Physics

Suckert T, Beyreuther E, Müller J, Azadegan B, Meinhardt M, Raschke F, Bodenstein E, von Neubeck C, Lühr A, Krause M, Dietrich A (2021) Late side effects in normal mouse brain tissue after proton irradiation. Frontiers in Oncology.


Görte J, Beyreuther E, Danen EJH, Cordes N (2020) Comparative proton and photon irradiation combined with pharmacological inhibitors in 3D pancreatic cancer tumoroids. Cancers 2020, 12(11), 3216. doi: 10.3390/cancers12113216

Brunner S, Tőkés T, Szabó ER, Polanek R, Szabó IZ, Reisz Z, Konczné Gubán B, Szijártó AL, Brand M, Hans S, Karsch L, Leßmann E, Pawelke J, Schürer M, Beyreuther E and Hideghéty K (2020) Dose-Dependent Changes after Proton and Photon Irradiation in Zebrafish Model. Anticancer Res 2020, 40(11) 6123-6135. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.14633 

Suckert T, Müller J, Beyreuther E, Azadegan B, Brüggemann A, Bütof R, Dietrich A, Gotz M, Haase R, Schürer M, Tillner F, von Neubeck C, Krause  M, Lühr A (2020) High-precision image-guided proton irradiation of mouse brain sub-volumes. Radiother Oncol 146 (2020): 205-12. DOI: 10.1016/j.radonc.2020.02.023

Brack FE, Kroll F, Gaus L, Bernert C, Beyreuther E, Cowan TE, Karsch L, Kraft S, Kunz-Schughart LA, Lessmann E, Metzkes-Ng J, Obst-Hübl L, Pawelke J, Rehwald M, Schlenvoigt HP, Schramm U, Sobiella M, Szabó ER, Ziegler T, Zeil K (2020) Spectral and spatial shaping of laser-driven proton beams using a pulseded high-field magnet beamline. Sci Rep 10 (2020): 9118
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-65775-7

Müller J, Schürer M, Neubert C, Tillner F, Beyreuther E, Suckert T, Peters N, von Neubeck C, Lühr A, Krause M, Bütof R, Dietrich A (2020) Multi-modality bedding platform for combined imaging and irradiation of mice. Biomed Phys Eng Express 6 (2020): 037003. DOI: 10.1088/2057-1976/ab79f1

Dombrowsky AC, Burger K, Porth AK, Stein M, Dierolf M, Günther B, Achterhold K, Gleich B, Feuchtinger A, Bartzsch S, Beyreuther E, Combs SE, Pfeiffer F, Wilkens JJ, Schmid TE (2020) A proof of principle experiment for microbeam radiation therapy at the Munich compact light source. Radiat Environ Biophys 59(1) (2020): 111-120. DOI: 10.1007/s00411-019-00816-y

Suckert T, Rassamegevanon T, Müller J, Dietrich A, Graja A, Reiche M, Löck S, Krause M, Beyreuther E, von Neubeck C (2020) Applying Tissue Slice Culture in Cancer Research – Insights from Preclinical Proton Radiotherapy. Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1589
DOI: 10.3390/cancers12061589


Beyreuther E, Brand M, Hans S, Hideghety K, Karsch L, Lessmann  E, Schuerer M, Szabó ER, Pawelke J (2019) Feasibility of proton FLASH effect tested by zebrafish embryo irradiation. Radiother Oncol 139 (2019):46-50. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2019.06.024

Karsch L, Beyreuther E, Eger Passos D, Pawelke J, Löck S (2020) Analysing tumour growth delay data from animal irradiation experiments with deviations from the prescribed dose. Cancers (Basel) 11(9) (2019): E1281.
DOI: 10.3390/cancers11091281