In silico radiobiology: Have we reached the limit of Monte Carlo simulations?

Y. Gholami, M. Toghyani, C. Champion, Z. Kuncic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Monte Carlo radiation transport models are increasingly being used to simulate biological damage. However, such radiation biophysics simulations require realistic molecular models for water, whereas existing Monte Carlo models are limited by their use of atomic cross-sections, which become inadequate for accurately modelling interactions of the very low-energy electrons that are responsible for biological damage. In this study, we borrow theoretical methods commonly employed in molecular dynamics simulations to model the molecular wavefunction of the water molecule as the first step towards deriving new molecular cross-sections. We calculate electron charge distributions for molecular water and find non-negligible differences between the vapor and liquid phases that can be attributed to intermolecular bonding in the condensed phase. We propose that a hybrid Monte Carlo-Molecular Dynamics (MC-MD) approach to modelling radiation biophysics will provide new insights into radiation damage and new opportunities to develop targeted molecular therapy strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012011
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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