New research on radiation and health in Chernobyl Sep 01, 2017

The University’s radiation research continues to expand, with Prof Joe Jackson, Prof Richard Birtles and Dr Kevin Bown from ELS joining Dr Mike Wood’s team of researchers studying the effects of radiation in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

Their inclusion in the team brings leading expertise in parasitology and immune system function, opening new opportunities to explore the influence of radiation on the health of wildlife in the world’s most radioactively contaminated terrestrial ecosystem.

Funded through one of Mike’s NERC grants, which supports research in Chernobyl’s ‘Red Forest’, Joe and Mike have just completed a 10 day programme of fieldwork in the Zone. Working with Prof Nick Beresford (NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) and Dr Sergey Gashchak (Chornobyl Center, Ukraine), they have collected extensive data on mammal populations within the Red Forest and associated health information.  They have also used radiation monitoring technology, including drone-mounted equipment, to quantify the radiation exposure of these Red Forest mammals. The team has returned to the University with a wealth of data, which they will be analysing over the coming months.

Mike’s award-winning research in Chernobyl has achieved significant international impact and has catalysed the development of new collaborations, including Fukushima research with the University of Tokyo. His world leading expertise in environmental radiation protection also led to his appointment as Chair of the Government consultation on new radiation protection legislation for the UK.

“The University of Salford is now recognised internationally as a centre of research excellence in environmental radioactivity.  Our growing team of experts from across the University is working together with our external collaborators to tackle fundamental questions about radiation in the environment and its effects on wildlife.  Our work is informing policy developments, underpinning international radiation protection guidance and making significant scientific contributions across a range of disciplines.” said Mike.

“I am delighted with what we have achieved to date and see this as the start of a much larger programme of radiation research at Salford. There are many excellent researchers within this University, with skills and expertise that could significantly enhance our current activities as well as opening up new opportunities. If colleagues have suggestions of ways in which they could contribute to this research area then I would encourage them to contact me to discuss.”

Mike returns to Chernobyl in early September to undertake the final sampling activities in a 12-month study of the influence of radiation on the soil system.  Prior to this he will be delivering a presentation in Berlin on use of novel technologies in radioecological research, an area in which other Salford-researchers, including Dr Simon Campion (SOBE), Dr Neil Entwistle (ELS) and Dr Paul Kendrick (CSE), have been collaborating with Mike.

You can contact Mike by emailing

Posted in EERC
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *