Gunma University Initiative for Advanced Research > Laboratory > International Open Laboratory > Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital(MGH) Laboratory

Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital(MGH) Laboratory

“Analysis of radiation-induced bystander effects”
“Effects of irradiation on the morphology of synapse formation and higher brain functions”

Our laboratory is led by Dr. Kathryn D. Held from Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital to carry out multidisciplinary research projects in the field of radiation biology. We are currently exploring the essential characteristics of radiation-induced bystander effects and radiation effects on the nervous systems.

Research Fields

Radiation biology, radiation neurobiology, radiation effects


Radiation bystander effects (RIBEs), DNA damage response, neurons, synapse, cognitive function

Investigation of radiation-induced bystander effects

The bystander effect is the phenomenon, in which un-irradiated cells near irradiated cells show biological changes (DNA damage, apoptosis, etc.) in responses to bystander factors released from irradiated cells. By using various models of cells such as normal, cancer, and neuron cells, we are investigating the role of DNA damage response pathways in responses of bystander cells and the long-term importance of bystander effects. We are also planning to study the roles of immune system-related mediators in bystander signaling.

Radiation effects on synapse and higher brain functions

Cognitive dysfunction be caused irradiation of living organisms. Our research aims to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying cognitive dysfunction by examining the effects of radiation on nerve cell development and synaptogenesis. Specifically, immunohistochemistry, biochemistry, and behavioral are performed using primary hippocampal nerve cells (in vitro) and mice (in vivo). We also are the differences in radio-sensitivity of nerve cells to X-rays and heavy-ion beams.