The Free Radical and Radiation Biology Program (FRRBP) is a unique, storied PhD-granting program that resides within the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. FRRBP provides graduate students the opportunity to study cancer biology and other major human diseases through a unique curriculum developed to advance redox biology through translational biomedical research and vice versa. This curriculum was developed through foundational studies of free radical and radiation biology within a research setting as close to clinical care as possible. We are the only PhD graduate program within a Radiation Oncology clinical department in the USA, providing students a more balanced education for biomedical research and the chance to directly implement your research for cancer therapy and therapy development.  Our program is affiliated with researchers in cancer, heart disease, arthritis, wound healing, fibrosis, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and several clinical trials for redox related compounds.  We have two $10M program grants affiliated with our groups and are a national leader in cancer research. 

About us

The FRRBP program is one of 7 Biomedical Science programs offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences staffed by 7 primary and 21 secondary faculty with exposure to related fields. 

What is FRRBP?

Aging and Cancer | Radiation Induced Normal Tissue Injury 
Inflammation and Arthritis | Cardiovascular diseases
Immunological responses | Toxicology in Cancer Therapy
Neuro Oncology | Basic and Translational Cancer Research

Research Focus

  • Fundamental free radical, oxidant and antioxidant chemistry and biology;
  • Basics of redox biology;
  • The biology of cancer including the biological mechanisms of anticancer therapy, as well as the mechanisms of normal tissue damage during cancer therapy
  • The redox and free radical biology of disease.

Program requirements

Two programs are offered:
1-Graduate Program in Free Radical and Radiation Biology, Ph.D. Objective

FRRPB is an interdisciplinary graduate program that provides students with a fundamental grounding in Free Radical Biology and Radiation Biology. All students devise an individualized program to apply the basics of free radical biology to their research program on the fundamental mechanisms and treatment of disease.

2-Postdoctoral Program in Free Radical and Radiation Biology:
FRRBP has a formal, NIH grant supported Training Program for Postdoctoral Scholars. 
The FRRBP is involved in three major activities related to radiation, free radical, and cancer biology at The University of Iowa; these are:
Teaching: involves the organization and presentation of courses within the FRRB Program and other graduate and undergraduate courses, teaching radiation biology to residents in Radiation Oncology and Diagnostic Radiology, to fourth year medical students, and to Nuclear Medicine and X-ray technologists.

Research: in the FRRB Program is investigating the fundamental biology of free radicals and related oxidants and antioxidants in health and disease. This includes, the role of these species in proliferative diseases, such as cancer; antitumor therapy; radiation-induced alterations in gene expression; redox regulation of transcription factor activation, oncogenes and suppressor genes; carcinogenesis; gene therapy; epigenetic effects; pathogenesis of radiation-induced normal tissue injury; cell population kinetics in normal and malignant tissues.  

Service: involves contributing to administration within the University and guiding the structure and evolution of science in the U.S. and beyond.


E-mail | Toll-free at (866) 448-4610 

Thank you for your interest in the Free Radical and Radiation Biology Graduate Program. The Biomedical Science Program (BSP) oversees admissions and first-year graduate studies for 7 doctoral programs, including Free Radical and Radiation Biology.


FRRBP Primary Faculty

Primary faculty in the Division of Free Radical and Radiation Biology.



Brett Wagner and the failing freezer
Brett Wagner MA, research specialist in FRRBP saved years’ worth of research samples when he responded to an automated phone call alerting him to a failing freezer. He arrived at midnight, on a weekend, and worked for several hours to re-house the collective work of five laboratories.
Sarita Menon lecture
Sarita Menon PhD (2006) delivered the Biomedical Science Graduate Program lecture on March 8, 2023 to students of the program. Dr Menon spoke on "Steering Your Way as a Biomedical Student: Practical Strategies Beyond the Degree" providing guidance on how to balance the demands of academia with the realities of a varied and fulfilling life.
Dr James Byrne MD, PhD, Jianling Bi PhD and members of the Byrne lab have earned prominence with the development of Gas Entrapping Materials (GeMs) in the treatment of cancer.
Madeline Hines scholar trainee winner
Madeline Hines, a graduate student in the FRRBP is a recipient of The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Trainee Scholar Award.