Radiopharmaceuticals (RPs) are drugs that leverage radiation to exert their diagnostic or therapeutic effect. The type of radioisotope and its emitted radiation dictates whether an RP is a diagnostic agent for nuclear molecular imaging (Single-Photon Emission Computerized Tomography – SPECT or Positron Emission Tomography -PET), or a targeted radiotherapeutic agent. Molecules that display both features are called Theranostics. The most recent FDA approved theranostic is the PSMA ligand for the detection and treatment of prostate cancer. Theranostics is a quickly developing area in academia and in the private sector, and deep radiopharmaceutical development skills are required in order to bring the next generation of drugs from bench to bedside. Radiochemistry and radiopharmaceuticals development are often skill sets that are acquired in graduate school.

My laboratory designs, develops, validates and translates novel radiopharmaceuticals. My research also focuses on the mechanistic-based use of less known imaging agents for novel biological application, and on more basic radiochemistry discovery, aimed to implement new radiolabeling methodologies for broad applicability.

Students in my research team will learn how a radiopharmaceutical is designed, synthesized, developed and produced, and how it can be validated preclinically in cellular cultures and animal models. If the radiopharmaceutical is a therapeutic agent, students will learn how to validate efficacy. If the radiopharmaceutical is an imaging agent for PET, then they will be trained in the use of the PET scanner and acquiring and analyzing PET data. Current studies in my laboratory focus on PET imaging of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, multimodal imaging of prostate cancer, including PET and MRI, and development of novel RPs for prostate cancer.

Projects can be tailored to meet the interests of the prospective student and be more biology focused (validation of novel RPs or use of known RPs in novel contexts), imaging focused (PET imaging of neuroinflammation/degeneration or cancer), or chemistry focused (new radiolabeling methods).


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Please note: not all my publications are featured on PubMed, especially the ones on pure organic chemistry topics. For a full list, please check out my ORCID profile.