SC 6-13: Methods and Models for Estimating Organ Doses from Intakes of Radium


To prepare a commentary which describes new and contemporary approaches for obtaining organ doses following intakes of radium. NCRP is coordinating the One Million Person Study of Radiation Workers and Veterans, which includes a number of cohorts that have been exposed to radium and other alpha-emitting radionuclides, such as the radium dial worker cohort. Better estimates of organ doses for those populations would improve the development of risk estimates for cancer and other late tissue effects such as cognitive dysfunction. The work is especially relevant for early workers (such as the dial workers) for whom it is desirable and appropriate to consider the inclusion of missing, inaccurate, and/or incomplete exposure information. Recent advances in multiple aspects of internal dose estimations allow for revisiting past dosimetric methods. The commentary will address past and new methods where appropriate and useful. For example, existing body burden measurements are unlikely to be improved upon, per se, although modern approaches to uncertainty analysis may provide more robust confidence levels. Moreover, the latest biokinetic models and energy absorption data are likely to provide more refined estimates of intake and organ doses suitable for incorporation into current epidemiologic models. Updating the dosimetric methodology associated with early occupational intakes of radium is translational in that it has the potential to speak to contemporary and emerging issues in medical, space, and occupational studies. The commentary will also serve to inform future decisions about the need for additional work on intakes of plutonium, americium, uranium, and polonium.


The commentary will describe state-of-the-art approaches for biokinetic modeling and estimations of dose to organs following intakes of radium. It will also address methods for assessing uncertainties associated with the dose estimates and the measurements that underlie them. Finally, the commentary will address methods for imputing doses for members of cohorts without measurements but with a work history similar to that of measured members of the cohort.



Derek W. Jokisch

is Professor of Physics and Chair of the Department of Physics and Engineering at Francis Marion University. He also holds a Joint Faculty Appointment in the Center for Radiation Protection Knowledge at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He earned his BS in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1995. He earned his MS and PhD in Nuclear Engineering Sciences (Health Physics) at the University of Florida in 1997 and 1999, respectively, while supported by a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Nuclear Energy/Health Physics Fellowship. Dr. Jokisch serves as a member of Committee 2 of the International Commission on Radiological Protection and as a member of the U.S. Scientific Review Group for the DOE’s Russian Health Studies Program. The Health Physics Society awarded him the Elda E. Anderson Award in 2010 and Francis Marion University awarded him the J. Lorin Mason Distinguished Professor Award in 2011. Dr. Jokisch’s research has involved multiple aspects of internal dosimetry, including energy deposition of charged particles in the skeleton, the computation of specific absorbed fractions for reference individuals, the calculation of internal dose coefficients, and the biokinetics of radioactive decay chains.

Derek W. Jokisch , Chair

Nicole Martinez

is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at Clemson University in the United States. She also holds a Joint Faculty Appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory within the Center for Radiation Protection Knowledge.

She graduated from Texas A&M University with a BS degree in applied mathematical sciences, and thereafter became an officer in the US Navy where she was a nuclear power instructor and later a radiation health officer. Followed by a brief stint working in industry, Dr. Martinez attended graduate school at Colorado State University, where she received an MS and PhD in radiological health sciences, with emphasis in health physics and radioecology, respectively. While working on her doctorate, she spent about a year and a half as part of a research team at Savannah River National Laboratory.

Dr. Martinez’s current research focuses on dosimetric modeling and the behavior and effects of radiological contaminants in the environment. In addition, she is interested in non-technical issues within radiation protection, such as ethics and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is currently serving as Vice-Chair of Committee 4 of the International Commission of Radiological Protection and is the Secretary of the Health Physics Society for the 2021-2023 term. She is the recipient of the 2018 Bo Lindell Medal from the ICRP, the 2019 Elda Anderson Award from the HPS, and is a Certified Health Physicist.

Nicole Martinez , Vice-Chair

Maia Avtandilashvili

is an Assistant Research Professor in the College of Pharmacy, Washington State University. She earned her Diploma with Honors (equivalent to MS) in Experimental Nuclear Physics from I. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (Republic of Georgia) and PhD in Health Physics from Idaho State University (ISU). Prior to her doctoral study, Dr. Avtandilashvili worked in the Physics Department of Tbilisi State University and was actively involved in a number of international research projects, including the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Regional Project "Marine Environmental Assessment of the Black Sea Region"; the Advanced Accelerator Applications – Dose Conversion Coefficients project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy; the Tbilisi Radon Assessment Initiative supported by the U.S. Civil Research and Development Foundation; etc. In 1999, she was awarded an IAEA Fellowship in Germany.

After completing her PhD at ISU in 2011, Dr. Avtandilashvili joined the U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries (USTUR) research team. Her current research focuses on modeling of actinide biokinetics using unique human data from former nuclear workers (volunteer donors to the USTUR) with accidental internal depositions of actinide elements. Dr. Avtandilashvili applies advanced statistical analysis methods to bioassay and tissue radiochemical analysis data from the USTUR donors (1) to test, validate, improve and parameterize biokinetic models for radiological protection; (2) to evaluate uncertainties in internal dose estimates in support of epidemiological studies; and (3) to investigate effects and mechanisms of actinide decorporation using chelating agents. She is also responsible for management and population of the USTUR health physics database.

Dr. Avtandilashvili is a member of the European Radiation Dosimetry Group Working Group 7 on "Internal Dosimetry." She also serves as an Editorial Board member of the Austin Biometrics and Biostatistics journal and as a Guest Co-Editor of the USTUR special issue of the Health Physics journal.

Maia Avtandilashvili



earned his BSc degree in physics in 1977 from the University of São Paulo, Brazil; his MSc degree in nuclear engineering in 1980 from the Military Institute of Engineering, Rio de Janeiro; and PhD degree in biophysics in 1990 from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Utah, Environmental Radiation Toxicology Laboratory from 1991 to1995. He has worked for more than 30 y in mathematical modeling of human metabolism regarding intake, distribution, retention and excretion of radionuclides for several age groups for internal dosimetry applications; scientific software design and development including software quality assurance procedures; and interpretation of monitoring data of radiation workers.

He is currently an Internal Dosimetrist at Los Alamos National Laboratory since 2003. He was responsible for calculating all internal doses and evaluating the efficacy of Prussian Blue for all age groups due to the Goiania radioactive accident in 1987. He has been serving the International Commission on Radiological Protection as a member of the Task Group on Dose Calculations since 1995 and as a member of Committee 2 since 2013. He has published several peer-reviewed journal articles.

luiz bertelli

Elizabeth M. Brackett

earned her BS in physics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and MS in radiological sciences and protection from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She has been a senior internal dosimetrist with the MJW Corporation, a radiological consulting firm, since 1997. She has provided technical guidance and assistance, primarily related to internal dosimetry matters, to a variety of facility types and is currently serving as the Principal Internal Dosimetrist for the contractor team on the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA) dose reconstruction project, providing technical direction and oversight of internal dosimetry issues. She is also an instructor for the MJW Occupational Internal Dosimetry course. Ms. Brackett has served as a member of several internal dosimetry committees, including the Health Physics Society Working Groups for the development of American National Standards: ANSI/HPS N13.25, Internal Dosimetry Standards for Plutonium, ANSI N13.42, Internal Dosimetry for Mixed Fission and Activation Products, and ANSI/HPS N13.39, Internal Dosimetry Programs, which she also chaired for several years. In addition, she was a member of the U.S. Department of Energy Expert Group on Internal Dosimetry and has served as Section Leader for the ASTM E10.04 Internal Dosimetry Section and Manager of Accredited Standards Committee N13, Radiation Protection, Internal Dosimetry Section.

Elizabeth M. Brackett

Emily A. Caffrey

is President and owner of Radian Scientific, currently supporting Risk Assessment Corporation in independent environmental dose and risk assessments. Dr. Caffrey teaches Radiation Dosimetry at Georgia Institute of Technology, and serves as the Supervised Practice Coordinator for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Additionally, she is the Editor-in-Chief of the Health Physics Society’s Ask-The-Expert public education feature, and serves as chair of the Public Information Committee. Her areas of expertise include dosimetry, statistics, data management and interpretation, and public communication.

Emily A. Caffrey

Sara Dumit

is currently a Health Physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and a Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Alumna (2021). She earned her Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from Washington State University. Her Doctoral research work was conducted at the U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries. Her Postdoctoral research work was completed at LANL’s Internal Dosimetry Group - Radiation Protection Division.

Her research in internal dosimetry focuses on the strategically important field of actinide biokinetics, especially where these biokinetics are affected by chelation treatment. Her areas of expertise include biokinetic model development, chelation modeling (plutonium-DTPA), and medical countermeasures after actinide intakes.

She serves as a Board Member of the European Radiation Dosimetry Group (EURADOS) ‘Working Group 7 on Internal Dosimetry’ at both Task Groups “Biokinetic Modeling of DTPA Therapy” (2016 – present) and “Internal Dosimetry in Case of Emergency” (2020 – present). She is also a Board Member of the Public Information Committee of the Health Physics Society (HPS) (2018 – present), and a Consultant for the ANSI N13.64 “Medical Management of Radiologically Contaminated Wounds” (2018 – present). She also serves as a Guest Lecturer on Internal Dosimetry at Northern New Mexico College, and as an Ad hoc reviewer for the Health Physics Journal.

Dr. Dumit has contributed numerous publications to the Radiation Protection literature and presented her research numerous times (nationally and internationally), including as invited speaker at the HPS meetings and EURADOS meetings.

Sara Dumit

Richard Leggett

Leggett Ris a research scientist in the Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). He received his PhD in mathematics from the University of Kentucky in 1972 and taught mathematics at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, and the University of Tennessee before joining the Health Physics Division at ORNL in 1976. His main research interest is in physiological systems modeling, with primary applications to the biokinetics and dosimetry of radionuclides and radiation risk analysis. He is a member of Committee 2 of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the ICRP Task Group on Internal Dosimetry. His physiological systems models of the human circulation, skeleton, and gastrointestinal transfer and his systemic biokinetic models for a number of elements are used by ICRP as dosimetry and bioassay models. He is the author of ICRP Publication 70, Basic Anatomical and Physiological Data for Use in Radiological Protection: The Skeleton and co-author of a number of other ICRP reports including the series of documents on doses to members of the public from intake of radionuclides (1989 to 1996), the updated Reference Man document (2002), and the Human Alimentary Tract Model (2006). He has authored over 100 open literature publications and in 1995 was named ORNL Author of the Year for the paper, “An Age-Specific Kinetic Model of Pb Metabolism in Humans.”

Richard Leggett
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Last modified: August 11, 2021