RAD 331 Radiobiology


Course Description

This course is designed to examine the effects of ionizing radiation on the human biological systems. Radiation effects in an aqueous medium, dose response curves, the acute radiation syndrome, and genetic and somatic effects of low-level radiation are discussed. Prerequisites: BIO 112, 113, 226, and permission of instructor.



Since their discovery by Wilhelm C. Roengten in 1895, “x-rays” have had an enormously powerful impact in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The medical use of ionizing radiation is now commonplace with wide-reaching benefits on patient outcomes. Exposure to ionizing radiation, however, is not without risk. X-ray dose to human tissue, no matter how small, carries with it some possibility of deleterious biologic effect. We will explore together the concepts of radiation exposure – its sources both natural and man-made; the factors controlling x-ray quantity, quality, and dose; and, the methods employed to measure that dose. As defined, radiobiology refers to the branch of the natural sciences dealing with the effects of ionizing radiation on living tissue or organisms. During our course meetings we will discuss in detail the dose-response relationship that describes these effects. A major responsibility of the radiologic technologist is the safe utilization of ionizing radiation to limit dose to their patients, their co-workers, and their selves. The optimization of radiation dose reduction is only possible once the technologist develops a thorough understanding of the physical properties of ionizing radiation and the mechanisms by which energy is deposited into living tissue. Equipped with this knowledge, the medical imaging professional can make practical decisions and employ appropriate techniques to reduce radiation dose while maintaining optimal image quality. We will undertake an in-depth examination of the parameters, techniques, and devices utilized to reduce radiation exposure during medical imaging.



This course has three specific aims:

• to introduce you to the science of Radiobiology, with an emphasis on the theories of radiosensitivity and the responses of human tissue to ionizing radiation;

• to provide you with a comprehensive description of the current techniques, procedures, and devices employed by the radiologic technologist to reduce radiation dose;

• to help you establish a deep commitment to radiation protection in your professional practice of medical imaging.



Upon completion of this course you should be able to:

• define ionizing radiation and describe the units of measure for radiation exposure and dose.

• assess policies and procedures utilized to limit and monitor occupational exposure to ionizing radiation.

• interpret and evaluate a personnel monitoring report of occupational radiation exposure

• employ professionally accepted techniques of patient and occupational dose reduction in your daily clinical practice.

• discuss the concept of radiosensitivity as it relates to cell structure and physiology.

• describe the dose-response relationship that exists between human tissue and ionizing radiation.

• compare and contrast the stochastic and non-stochastic biologic effects of ionizing radiation.

• list and define the short-term and long-term somatic and systemic biologic effects of ionizing radiation exposure.


Course Format

There will be several forms of instruction utilized throughout the semester. Your success in this course is directly correlated to your effort and participation in each:

• The required text book for this course is: Bushong SC. Radiologic Science for Technologists. 9th ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2008 The attached course schedule indicates the section(s) of the text you are required to read prior to each class meeting.

• Our class room discussions will expand upon the material presented within the text readings. Lectures will be supported by various hand-outs, audiovisual materials, and computer presentations.

• I will provide you with additional supplemental readings throughout the semester to assist in your comprehension of the course content.

• Blackboard – all course-related material is available at http://blackboard.hartford.edu. Assignments, supplemental readings and exercises may be periodically administered through Blackboard.

• In addition, the discussion board for this course is a valuable resource for further topic exploration and clarification. You may find it helpful to discuss amongst yourselves the topics we cover throughout the course. I will routinely monitor the discussion board and will provide additional instruction when necessary.

• Please familiarize yourself with Blackboard and speak to me if you have any issue with access or utilization.

• A media review project will be assigned during the first week of the semester. Its purpose is to afford you the opportunity to investigate the role of media in our patient’s understanding of radiobiology. The scope and format of the project will be reviewed and the required completion form will be provided to you.



Your progress and overall course achievement will be calculated in the following manner:

Measure % of Grade
Homework 10
Exam I 20
Exam II 20
Exam III 20
Final Exam 25
Participation 5

*A grade of C+ (77%) or above in this course is required to continue within the Radiologic Technology professional component curriculum. (Policies and Procedures, pg. 5)


Student Responsibilities

1. Your attendance is expected at all class meetings. Please contact me prior to class via phone or e-mail if you are unable to attend a lecture session. It is your responsibility to obtain the covered course content for any missed lectures.

2. Read the assigned materials prior to each lecture. You should take notes during class, the ease of which will be facilitated by at least a cursory understanding of the material.

3. You are responsible for all of the material contained within the assigned readings and activities. Your understanding of all major concepts will be assessed through our various assignments and tests. Be aware that I will not test you on minutiae; the assessment tools I use to measure your progress will concentrate primarily on the major topics we explore during our meetings and homework assignments.

4. Pay attention and participate in our lecture discussions. Appropriately asked questions are always welcome – never hesitate to raise your hand and ask for further clarification when needed.

5. Bring your textbook to class. We will use it often during both independent and collaborative exercises.

6. The use of cell-phones, pagers, or other electronic communication devices during class is strictly prohibited.

7. All assignments must be completed as scheduled. Late assignments will undergo a 5 point reduction in possible score for each day beyond the due date.

8. All exams must be taken as scheduled. Make-up exams will be given only in extreme circumstances and must have my prior approval.

9. Students in need of learning accommodations may discuss this directly with me and/or contact the University’s Learning Plus office at 860-768-4522.

10. Students of the course are subject to the rules and regulations of the University of Hartford’s Academic Honesty Policy and Code of Student Conduct as outlined in The Source.

11. Students may appeal any component of this course in accordance with the Academic Grievance Procedure as outlined in the Policies and Procedures Manual of the Radiologic Technology Program.


I look forward to a productive and rewarding semester. It is my honor and pleasure to assist you in your professional studies in the science and practice of Radiologic Technology. Best wishes for success!