Francis Cucinotta

Professor, Department of Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences
Expertise: Theoretical Nuclear, Radiation and Space Physics , Biophysics of DNA Damage and Repair , Terrestrial and Space Radiobiology, Radiation Risk Models for Cancer and Noncancer Effects, Biodosimetry

Biography

Francis (Frank) Cucinotta is a professor for the department of health physics and diagnostic sciences within the School of Integrated Health Sciences. He is an expert in how environmental and man-made radiation affects the body, and currently teaches radiobiology to undergraduate health physics students.

Prior to joining UNLV, Cucinotta led a team at NASA focused on the potential radiation health risks to astronauts visiting Mars and determined how to mitigate those risks. He has been a chief scientist with NASA’s radiation program since 2003, and continues to serve as an adviser to the Human Medical and Technical Authority at NASA on radiation risks.

A prolific researcher, Cucinotta’s work has been published in more than 340 professional journal articles, including Science, Nature Reviews Cancer, Reviews of Modern Physics, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS ONE, and Nucleic Acids Research. He is continuing his research on radiation health risks in space and on Earth.

Cucinotta is an elected councilor of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, which is chartered by the U.S. Congress to make recommendations on radiation protection. In 2013-2014 he was the president of the Radiation Research Society, which encourages the advancement of radiation research in all areas of the natural sciences; facilitates cooperative research between the disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine in the study of the properties and effects of radiation; and promotes dissemination of knowledge in these and related fields through publications, meetings, and educational symposia.

Education

  • Ph.D., Physics, Old Dominion University
  • B.A., Physics, Rutgers University
  • Floyd L. Thompson Fellowship: Johns Hopkins Medical School and Medical Research Council of the United Kingdom

Francis Cucinotta In The News

Science Mag
September 25, 2020
Moonwalkers take heart—China’s Chang’e 4 lander has made the first detailed measurements of the intense radiation that blasts the lunar surface and found that it’s safe for human exploration.
Science Mag
September 25, 2020
Moonwalkers take heart—China’s Chang’e 4 lander has made the first detailed measurements of the intense radiation that blasts the lunar surface and found that it’s safe for human exploration. The results give researchers a better idea of how much protective shielding future crews will need.
Las Vegas Review Journal
July 27, 2020
If the Mars Perseverance Rover was lifting off from Cape Canaveral at almost any other time, UNLV Professor Elisabeth “Libby” Hausrath would have had a front-row seat.
STAT News
July 16, 2020
There are at least a dozen trials worldwide testing low-dose radiation therapy, or LDRT, as a treatment for pneumonia related to Covid-19, some spurred by the same historical data Calabrese and colleagues scoured years ago. The theory: Targeted radiation to the lungs will halt the out-of-control inflammation responsible for the devastating pneumonia that bookends the course of some Covid-19 patients.

Articles Featuring Francis Cucinotta

A portrait of UNLV's new president Keith Whitfield on campus.
Campus NewsAugust 10, 2020
As summer heats up, so do the accomplishments on UNLV’s campus.
Two women stand in front of an image of a Martian rover
ResearchMay 19, 2020
Pair of geoscience professors at the forefront of UNLV’s contributions to Mars exploration, but plenty more academics are involved in the Red Planet.
People preparing to cut ribbon on new Fertitta Complex
Campus NewsNovember 1, 2019
A collection of local, national, and international news stories highlighting the people and programs of UNLV.
UNLV campus
ResearchJanuary 26, 2018
Three faculty garner 2018 Barrick Scholar Awards for their extensive research achievements.