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 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

Reuters
December 27, 2018
Although space travel exposes astronauts to forms of radiation that are uncommon on Earth, and that are linked to cancers and heart problems, a U.S. study suggests this doesn’t significantly shorten their lives.
Reuters
December 26, 2018
Although space travel exposes astronauts to forms of radiation that are uncommon on Earth, and that are linked to cancers and heart problems, a U.S. study suggests this doesn’t significantly shorten their lives.
engadget
September 26, 2018
When SpaceX launches Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and his eight traveling companions for a trip around the Moon in 2023, the company will be undertaking an unprecedented step toward the future of civilian space flight. But with being the first to attempt this feat comes a number of technical and safety challenges that less ambitious expeditions, like Blue Origin's treks to the Karman Line, won't have to face. So, just how will SpaceX ensure that its first trip to the Moon doesn't turn into a real-life Gravity?
The New York Post
March 27, 2018
There are many good reasons to contemplate leaving Earth. Global warming. The threat of nuclear war. The promise of a sequel to “Justice League.”

Articles Featuring Francis Cucinotta

UNLV campus
ResearchJanuary 26, 2018
Three faculty garner 2018 Barrick Scholar Awards for their extensive research achievements.
Alyssa Crittenden
ResearchDecember 26, 2017
UNLV researchers made international headlines this year with their discoveries. Here's a round up of some of our top stories of 2017.
Frank Cucinotta
ResearchJune 5, 2017
New predictive model shows radiation from cosmic rays extends from damaged to otherwise healthy “bystander” cells, effectively doubling cancer risk.
Closeup of books
ResearchMay 3, 2017
From professional reasons to personal connections, faculty across campus share why they’re fond of certain works they penned.