Stéphane Lucas

Radiobiology and radiation therapy research

Understanding biological response to radiation and improving radiation therapy


Engineering materials for biomedical applications

Prof. Stéphane Lucas PhD

UNamur, Department of physics, Physics of Matter and Radiation (PMR), Laboratory of Analysis by Nuclear Reaction (LARN)

Member of Namur Research Institute for Life Sciences (NARILIS) & Namur Institute of Structured Matter (NISM)

Member of the Namur Cancer Research Pole

Member of the Namur Nanosafety Center

Research portal UNamur  |  ORCID  |  ResearchGate  |  LinkedIn

Expertise and research interests

Prof. Stéphane Lucas is a physicist with expertise in the field of radiobiology and nanotechnology, as well as in material sciences.

Together with Prof. Carine Michiels and Prof. Anne-Catherine Heuskin, he set up an experienced radiobiology team, composed of physicists and biologists. The LARN laboratory possesses an Altaïs Tandetron Linear Accelerator and an X-ray irradiator, allowing to irradiate in vitro cell cultures with charged particles (protons, He+ particles, Li+ ions, carbon ion or photons). The team has also gained experience in the synthesis and characterization of nanoparticles. Their aim is to study the cellular response following nanoparticle exposure combined or not to cell irradiation. They previously shed light on mechanisms by which gold nanoparticles make tumor cells more sensitive to irradiation. Besides radiobiological experimental studies, Stéphane Lucas also works on theoretical modeling of cell response to radiation and dosimetry calculations. Ultimately, their research activities seek to optimize cancer radiation therapy, as well as to achieve a more efficient cancer treatment by combining nanotechnology and protontherapy. Stéphane Lucas is involved in European projects, such as RISE, Rotifer In SpacE, and INSPIRE, a European network that aims at sharing Proton Beam Therapy research.

Another part of Stephane Lucas' research concerns the safety assessment of nanomaterials. Within the Namur Nanosafety Center (NNC), a multidisciplinary platform, he contributes his expertise to the physicochemical characterization of nanoparticles.

Moreover, Stéphane Lucas has also developed a strong expertise in the design and surface modification of materials (see Namur Institute of Structured Matter, NISM). This unique knowhow allows his group to work on a wide range of applications, including biomedical applications.

Group members

Postdoc: Dr. Victor Delprat

PhD student: Valentin Job, Andrea Scarmelotto and Romain Tonneau

Research projects


  • ONGOING Emerging Proton Therapies (EPT). Ongoing PhD thesis by Romain Tonneau.
  • ONGOING Setting up 2D and 3D biological models for the study of the oxygen role in in vitro FLASH therapy. Ongoing PhD thesis by Andrea Scarmelotto. Postdoctoral research by Dr. Victor Delprat.
  • ONGOING FLASH effect in proton therapy: beam tracking through oxygen depletion in tissues and associated biological mechanisms. Ongoing PhD thesis by Lucas Schoenauen. Under co-supervision by Prof. Anne-Catherine Heuskin (promoter) and Prof. Stéphane Lucas (co-promoter).
  • ONGOING RISE: RISE-LARN 2022 2023: Bdelloid rotifer Adineta vaga: a new eukaryotic extremophile model organism to study the impact of radiation and microgravity on biological processes. Research by Prof. Anne-Catherine Heuskin, Prof. Stéphane Lucas and Richard Coos.
  • RISE: Rotifer In SpacE - Bdelloid rotifer Adineta vaga, a new eukaryotic extremophile model organism to study the impact of radiation and micro-gravity on biological processes. Collaborative research project between ULB (Prof. Karine Van Doninck), UNamur (Prof. Stéphane Lucas, Prof. Anne-Catherine Heuskin and Dr. Boris Hespeels) and SCK-CEN (Prof. Sarah Baatout and Dr. Bjorn Baselet).
  • PROTHER-WAL: Proton Therapy Research in Wallonia. WP1 - Polyvalence du système d'irradiation. Postdoctoral research by Dr. Nilsu Cini (Aug 2021 - 2022).
  • Contextual synthetic lethality to optimise glioblastoma cell responses to proton and X-ray irradiation: an upscaling approach to study radiosensitisation and radioresistance. Postdoctoral research by Dr. Anne-Catherine Wera. Under co-supervision by Prof. Carine Michiels (promoter) and Prof. Stéphane Lucas (co-promoter).



  • ONGOING Optimisation of antibacterial and antiviral coatings by physical ways. Ongoing PhD thesis by Valentin Job.

  • Development of colloidal biosensor for in vitro medical diagnosis. Under co-supervision by Prof. Jean-Michel Dogné and Prof. Stéphane Lucas. In collaboration with CHU UCL Namur (Prof. François Mullier) and QUALIblood (Prof. Jonathan Douxfils).
  • COVID-19 SWABIMPROVMENT: Development of optimized nasopharyngeal sampling devices for diagnostic purpose. Research project by Prof. Stéphane Lucas (promoter), Prof. Benoît Muylkens (co-promoter), Dr. Sébastien Penninckx (project manager), Margot Cardinal (lab tecnician) and Richard Coos (electromechanics engineer). In collaboration with CHU UCL Namur (Prof. Philippe Eloy and Prof. Thierry Vander Borght).

 Selected publications

Daems N, Verlinden B, Van Hoecke K, Cardinaels T, Baatout S, Michiels C, Lucas S, Aerts A. In Vivo Pharmacokinetics, Biodistribution and Toxicity of Antibody-Conjugated Gold Nanoparticles in Healthy Mice. J Biomed Nanotechnol. 2020 Jun 1;16(6):985-996.

Hespeels B, Penninckx S, Cornet V, Bruneau L, Bopp C, Baumlé V, Redivo B, Heuskin AC, Moeller R, Fujimori A, Lucas S, Van Doninck K. Iron Ladies - How Desiccated Asexual Rotifer Adineta vaga Deal With X-Rays and Heavy Ions? Front Microbiol. 2020 Jul 31;11:1792.

Penninckx S, Heuskin AC, Michiels C, Lucas S. Gold Nanoparticles as a Potent Radiosensitizer: A Transdisciplinary Approach from Physics to Patient. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Jul 23;12(8):E2021.

Penninckx S, Heuskin AC, Michiels C, Lucas S. Thioredoxin Reductase Activity Predicts Gold Nanoparticle Radiosensitization Effect. Nanomaterials (Basel). 2019 Feb 19;9(2).

Hespeels F, Heuskin AC, Tabarrant T, Scifoni E, Kraemer M, Chêne G, Strivay D, Lucas S. Backscattered electron emission after proton impact on gold nanoparticles with and without polymer shell coating. Phys Med Biol. 2019 Apr 15.

Li S, Bouchy S, Penninckx S, Marega R, Fichera O, Gallez B, Feron O, Martinive P, Heuskin AC, Michiels C, Lucas S. Antibody-functionalized gold nanoparticles as tumor targeting radiosensitizers for proton therapy. Nanomedicine (Lond). 2019 Feb;14(3):317-333.

Fichera O, Alpan L, Laloy J, Tabarrant T, Uhrner U, Ye Q, Mejia J, Dogné JM & Lucas S. Characterization of water-based paints containing titanium dioxide or carbon black as manufactured nanomaterials before and after atomization. 2019 Appl Nanosci 9, 515–528.

Heuskin AC, Gallez B, Feron O, Martinive P, Michiels C, Lucas S. Metallic nanoparticles irradiated by low energy protons for radiation therapy: are there significant physical effects to enhance the dose delivery? Med Phys. 2017 Aug;44(8):4299-4312.