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NOSM University researchers awarded $1.5 million to study health effects of low-dose radiation

Posted on October 10, 2023
Read more about how the Alliance grant will support research.

NOSM University researchers and partners have been awarded a prestigious Alliance grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), valued at $1.5 million over five years.

The grant will fund several highly specialized projects. These include constructing a custom experimental chamber, designed specifically for studying the respiratory effects of low-level radon gas exposure. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas found in the air we breathe, and the biological effects of long-term low dose exposures remain unknown.

The NSERC Alliance grant will also continue to support research in the Life Sciences Laboratory at SNOLAB focused on genetic effects caused by the absence of radiation. Specialized equipment allows researchers to understand the role of natural radiation and cellular changes that can lead to cancer or cell death.

NOSM University research at SNOLAB is also currently funded by the Canadian Space Agency and NASA, and the combined research supports the understanding of life on earth and in outer space.

“NOSM University researchers are recognized as experts in the field of health effects of low-dose radiation from natural and human-made exposures,” says Dr. Christopher Thome, NOSM University Assistant Professor and principal investigator on the projects. “This grant will build on significant research accomplishments that have supported the training of numerous students and scientists over the past ten years.”

The research team consists of Dr. Thome as well as co-investigators Drs. Doug Boreham, Suji Tharmalingam, TC Tai, and Simon Lees, Australian collaborators Drs. Dani Dixon and Tony Hooker, students at Laurentian University, and partners at the Nuclear Innovation Institute, Bruce Power, and Cameco Corporation.


NOSM University is Canada’s first independent medical university and one of the greatest education and physician workforce strategy success stories of Northern Ontario. More than just a medical university, it was purpose-built to address the health needs of the region. Through its distributed model, the university works alongside many underserved communities across the North, and contributes to the economic development of Northern Ontario. NOSM University relies on the commitment and expertise of the people of Northern Ontario to educate health-care professionals to practise in Indigenous, Francophone, rural, remote and other underserved communities. With a focus on equity, diversity and inclusion, NOSM University is an award-winning, socially-accountable organization renowned for its innovative model of community-engaged education and research. 

For further information, please contact: University (Akinomaagegamik) serves over 8,000 students on its campus in Sudbury, Ontario, and is one of two bilingual universities in the province of Ontario. Committed to its bilingual, tri-cultural mandate, Laurentian University offers an outstanding university experience in English and French with a comprehensive approach to Indigenous education.

For further information, please contact