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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

About

Francis (Frank) Cucinotta is a professor for the department of health physics and diagnostic sciences within the School of Allied 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

Mar 8, 2017

We welcomed Dr. Francis (Frank) Cucinotta to the show to discuss the radiation risks for astronauts going to Mars and even living on Mars. Please note that Dr. Cucinotta has provided us with four .pdf papers you might want to review. These papers have been uploaded to the archives for this show.

Jan 9, 2017

Since the year 2000, humanity has maintained a continuous presence in space aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Dec 22, 2016

Reports of a new space race tell of NASA’s plan to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s and SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk’s ambition to get private explorers there first. This race, however, can’t be won with either’s current technology, regardless of their spending or commitment.

May 31, 2015
Question: What would taking a leisurely trip to Mars do to an astronaut’s brain? Answer: Nothing good.

Articles Featuring Francis Cucinotta

Apr 18, 2017
Research

From professional reasons to personal connections, faculty across campus share why they’re fond of certain works they penned.


Jun 9, 2014
Research
Professor’s research examines how much cosmic radiation is too much, and what damage it can cause.