SNMMI recognizes contributions to nuclear medicine and molecular imaging at 2017 annual meeting

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The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI), an international scientific and medical organization, recognized contributions to the field of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging during its 2017 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. Several awards ceremonies were held to recognize the valuable role SNMMI members play in advancing the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, cancer and neurological conditions.


This year, two SNMMI Presidential Distinguished Service Awards were given in recognition of continual dedication to the society. They were presented to Robert E. Henkin, MD, FACNM, FACR, and John M. Hoffman, MD.

Robert E. Henkin, MD, FACNM, FACR, is professor emeritus of radiology at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, and president of UNM, Ltd., which provides consulting services to medical imaging companies and professional societies. He served as director of nuclear medicine at Loyola University Medical Center for 30 years and has been a member of SNMMI since 1970.

Active in SNMMI leadership, Henkin has represented the society in the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) for many years and has been one of the leading voices in SNMMI on issues related to quality in healthcare. He also participated in the development of the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in collaboration with the American Medical Association. In addition, he has served on the SNMMI Board of Directors and House of Delegates, as well as on numerous committees and task forces. A big proponent of evidence-based guidance documents, he has been a member of the Guidance Oversight Committee for several years, as well as a member of the Appropriate Use Criteria Working Group for Bone Scintigraphy.

His dedication to mentoring young professionals and emerging leaders in the field has helped SNMMI develop strong leaders for the future. The SNMMI Robert E. Henkin, MD, Government Relations Fellowship, funded by the Education and Research Foundation for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (ERF), is named in his honor and provides young professionals in the field with direct personal exposure to government relations activities of the society, as well as the state and federal legislative and regulatory process through a week in Washington, DC, with meetings on Capitol Hill.

John M. Hoffman, MD. is the Willard Snow Hansen Presidential Endowed Chair in Cancer Research; professor of radiology and neurology; director of nuclear medicine; and co-director of the Center for Quantitative Cancer Imaging at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is the author of more than 140 peer-reviewed publications, 19 book chapters and more than 200 abstracts, he has served on the editorial board of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine since 2000 and the editorial board of Molecular Imaging since 2002. He is also a consultant to the editor of Radiology.

Prior to assuming his position at the University of Utah, Hoffman was chief of the Molecular Imaging Branch of the Cancer Imaging Program at the National Cancer Institute. He is an expert in molecular imaging, with a special focus on positron emission tomography (PET). His molecular imaging research interests include its use in personalized medicine and as a biomarker in therapeutic drug trials, as well its use to assess brain tumor response to therapy.

Hoffman has been a member of SNMMI since 1985 and is a member of the Pacific Northwest Chapter. In addition, he is a longstanding member of the society's Brain Imaging Council, Center for Molecular Imaging Innovation and Translation (CMIIT), and PET Center of Excellence. He has also been a member of the Coalition for PET Drug Approval since its creation.

Hoffman has played an especially significant role in the SNMMI Clinical Trials Network (CTN), serving as co-chair from 2009 to 2017. He was instrumental in developing CTN's companion organization, the Nuclear Medicine Clinical Trial Group, LLC, which assists sponsors in effectively incorporating molecular imaging agents in multicenter trials. His visionary leadership has also informed the CTN curriculum and live events. A regulatory expert, he has assisted, as well, in the maintenance of SNMMI's centralized Investigational New Drug (IND) database, which is available to all CTN partners.


Richard P. Baum, MD, PhD, chairman and clinical director of the Department of Nuclear Medicine and the Center for PET/CT at Zentralklinik Bad Berka in Bad Berka, Germany, delivered the Henry N. Wagner, Jr., Lectureship on Sunday, June 13. His presentation, "Theranostics: Looking Back and Moving Forward," provided an exciting look at precision medicine and the role of molecular imaging and nuclear medicine in targeting and delivering individualized therapy. He is at the forefront of cutting-edge research in the treatment of neuroendocrine tumors and prostate cancer, as well as other diseases processes.


George M. Sgouros, PhD, received the Saul Hertz, MD, Award, which recognizes the lifetime achievement of individuals who have made outstanding contributions to radionuclide therapy. Sgouros is professor of radiology, oncology and radiation oncology, as well as director of the Radiopharmaceutical Dosimetry Section of the Division of Nuclear Medicine, at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. The award is named in honor of Saul Hertz, MD, who administered a cyclotron-produced I-130 - I-131 mixture as a therapeutic dose to the first human patient with Graves' hyperthyroidism (Graves' Disease) at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1941.

Sgouros, who chairs SNMMI's Medical Internal Radionuclide Dose (MIRD) Committee, gave a presentation on "Radiopharmaceutical Therapy: Current Status and Future Prospects" at the society's annual meeting. The focus of his research is on modeling and dosimetry of internally administered radionuclides with particular emphasis on patient-specific dosimetry, alpha-particle dosimetry and mathematical modeling of radionuclide therapy. His lab is currently engaged in pre-clinical research investigating targeted alpha-emitter therapy of metastatic cancer and clinical research examining the impact of patient-specific treatment planning on treatment outcome.

Sgouros has authored more than 140 peer-reviewed articles, as well as review articles and several book chapters. He has served as chair of the Dosimetry & Radiobiology Panel at a Department of Energy Workshop on alpha-emitters in medical therapy and, in the early 90s, he provided the physics/dosimetry support for the first FDA-approved human trial of targeted alpha-emitter therapy.

He is a member of the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements' Report Committee on "Bioeffect Modeling and Equieffective Dose Concepts in Radiation Therapy" and chair of Report Committee 31 on "Treatment Planning for Radiopharmaceutical Therapy." Sgouros is also a member of the Scientific Committee of the IAEA/WHO Network of Secondary Standards Dosimetry Laboratories and a member of the National Council on Radiological Protection and Measurements. He is the current chair of the National Institutes of Health Study Section on Radiation Therapeutics and Biology.


Jason Lewis, PhD, the Emily Tow Jackson Chair in Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City, received the Michael J. Welch Award, which is presented annually by SNMMI's Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Council to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to radiopharmaceutical sciences. His lecture was titled "Antibody Theranostics - The Past, The Present and [Maybe] the Future?"

Lewis also serves as MSKCC vice chair for research, chief of the Radiochemistry & Imaging Sciences Service, director of the Radiochemistry and Molecular Imaging Probe Core Facility and director of the Center for Molecular Imaging & Nanotechnology. In addition, he is a professor at the Gerstner Sloan-Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and at Weill-Cornell Medical College. Lewis is widely published in the field of cancer imaging and serves on grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute and on a number of editorial boards. His research interests are focused on the development of new molecular imaging agents and radiopharmaceuticals for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.


Hongjun Jin, PhD, received the Berson-Yalow Award. The award commemorates Rosalyn S. Yalow, PhD, and Solomon A. Berson, MD, who together developed the radioimmunoassay (RIA) technique in the 1950s. SNMMI established the award in 1977, the year that Yalow received the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine. Judges for the award choose the investigator who submits the most original abstract presentation at SNMMI's Annual Meeting and who has made significant contributions to basic or clinical RIA research, or any area of research using the indicator-dilution method.

Jin is an instructor of radiology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. His research focuses on biochemically characterization of radiotracers for oncology molecular imaging, and his winning abstract was titled "A promising I-123 labeled radioligand for imaging neuroinflammation response by assessment P2X7 receptor expression."


Michael Lassmann, PhD, head of the physics group in the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the University of Würzburg in Würzburg, Germany, received the Loevinger-Berman Award, which was established in 1999 by the Medical Internal Radiation Dose (MIRD) Committee in honor of Robert Loevinger, PhD, and Mones Berman, PhD, who formulated the MIRD schema for internal dose calculations. The award is given in recognition of excellence pertaining to the field of internal dosimetry as it relates to nuclear medicine through research and/or development, significant publication contributions or advancement of the understanding of internal dosimetry in relationship to risk and therapeutic efficacy.

Lassmann's experience with internal dosimetry dates back to the 1990s. His primary research in recent years has been in thyroid cancer treatment dosimetry, and he has coordinated the dosimetry in several multicenter trials. His other areas of research include 3D ultrasound, radiation protection and large IT systems for nuclear medicine. From 2001 to 2008, he chaired the EANM Dosimetry Committee. In addition, he serves on the editorial boards of the European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging and Cancer Biotherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals. Lassmann has authored more than 50 publications and given many invited lectures at national and international meetings.


Frederik Beekman, PhD, head of radiation, detection and medical imaging at TU Delft University, is this year's recipient of the Edward J. Hoffman Memorial Award, which is presented annually by SNMMI's Computer and Instrumentation Council. The award was established to honor the memory of Professor Edward J. Hoffman and recognizes scientists in the field of nuclear medicine for their service and devotion to research and development of nuclear medicine instrumentation and to educating and training the next generation of scientists.

Beekman's lecture at the SNMMI Annual Meeting was on "Advancing the State-of-the-Art of PET, SPECT and Autoradiography with Multi-Pinhole Imaging." He is the recipient of several awards for his contributions to SPECT and PET technologies and their application in biomedical research. His research interests include radiation technology applied to medicine and biomedical science and image reconstruction from projections. Beekman has co-authored 135 journals papers and is the inventor on 31 patents. He is an associate editor of several journals and serves on the editorial board of Physics in Medicine & Biology. He is also the founder and CEO/CSO of MILabs, which develops and markets high-performance molecular imaging systems.


George Segall, MD, FACNM, FSNMMI, professor of radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine and Chief of the Nuclear Medicine Service at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, California, received the Peter E. Valk, MD, Memorial Award, which was created to honor the memory of Peter E. Valk, MD, a pioneer in the establishment of PET as an important clinical study.

Segall has held several SNMMI leadership positions, including serving as SNMMI president (2011-2012). In addition, he served as a director of the American Board of Nuclear Medicine (ABNM) from 2009 to 2014 and has been the ABNM executive director since

Kuhl-Lassen Lecture Award

Karl Herholz, MD, professor of clinical neuroscience at the University of Manchester in Manchester, UK, received the Kuhl-Lassen Lecture Award, presented by the SNMMI Brain Imaging Council. The award recognizes a scientist who has made outstanding contributions and whose research in and service to the discipline of functional brain imaging is of the highest caliber. His lecture was titled, "Towards Theragnostic NeuroPET."

Herholz leads neuroscience research at the Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre, with major focuses on the use of PET for early diagnosis and prevention of dementia, imaging of specific transmitter systems, deposition of pathological proteins and imaging of gliomas. He is also an honorary consultant at Salford Royal Hospital and the Nuclear Medicine Department, Central Manchester Foundation Trust. Before joining Manchester University, he worked as a clinical neurologist and professor of neurology at University Hospital and the Max-Planck Institute for Neurological Research in Cologne, Germany.

Herholz has had leading roles in several international multicenter PET studies on neurodegenerative diseases. He is also principal investigator on a partnership grant for the MR-PET imaging network of the Dementia Platform UK and is a member of the Medical Research Council Neuroscience and Mental Health Board. His research has been published in more than 400 research papers and several books.


Raiyan Tripti Zaman, PhD, instructor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, received this year's Walter Wolf Young Investigator Award for her abstract titled "Harnessing Radioluminescence and Sound to Reveal Molecular Pathology of Atherosclerotic Plaques."

In her postdoctoral work at Stanford University School of Medicine, Zaman developed a novel flexible fiber-optic catheter consisting of both a radio-luminescence and a fluorescence imaging system to detect vulnerable plaques. Working as a principal investigator under the mentorship of Professors Michael V. McConnell and Lei Xing, she also conducted independent research on an intravascular molecular imaging system to characterize plaque, and she developed a scintillating balloon-enabled fiber-optic radionuclide imaging (SBRI) system to improve the sensitivity and resolution of plaque imaging using 18F-FDG. Zaman is currently developing a Circumferential-Intravascular-Radioluminescence-Photoacoustic-Imaging (CIRPI) system to detect and characterize vulnerable plaques in human, mice and porcine models.


Jingjing Zhang, MD, PhD, received the PIC Majd-Gilday Young Investigator Award, which honors two pioneers in the pediatric imaging field: Massoud Majd, MD, and David Gilday, MD. The award is given to young scientists for outstanding research contributions to the field of pediatric nuclear medicine. Zhang's winning abstract is titled "68Ga-NOTA-Aca-BBN (7-14) PET imaging of GRPR in children with optic pathway gliomas."

Zhang is a physician and scientist of nuclear medicine at the PET Center of Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH) in China. She was a pre-doctoral visiting fellow at the Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and received her MD and PhD in 2015.Since then, she has successfully implemented a number of first-in-human PET probe studies and early phase clinical trials. Her research focuses on cancer molecular imaging, especially gallium-68 labeling peptides, and she has a long-standing interest in clinical translational and theranostic applications of targeted molecular probes. Zhang has received numerous awards, including the Women in Molecular Imaging Scholar Award, the SNMMI Alavi-Mandell Award and the Young Scientist Award from the Chinese American Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.


Sharmila Dorbala, MD, director of nuclear cardiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, was selected by SNMMI's Cardiovascular Council to receive the Hermann Blumgart Award. The award annually recognizes a key contributor to the science of nuclear cardiology who is also an advocate for the field through involvement with the society's research and educational activities.

Dorbala's lecture at the SNMMI Annual Meeting was on "Expanding the Frontiers of Nuclear Cardiology: Infiltrative Cardiomyopathy." She is a cardiovascular imaging specialist with clinical expertise in nuclear cardiology, echocardiography, and cardiac CT and has a successful track record of funded research in cardiac PET and cardiac amyloidosis. Her PET research has provided insights into management of ischemic heart diseases, and her research in cardiac amyloidosis uses advanced imaging to define mechanisms of cardiac dysfunction and identify early response to anti-amyloid therapy. Dorbala serves as an associate editor of Circulation Cardiovascular Imaging and the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology. She is an active member of SNMMI and the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology.


Sepideh Shokouhi, PhD, received the Tracy Lynn Faber Memorial Award, given each year to support advancement of women in medical imaging sciences.

Shokouhi is a graduate of Graz University of Technology in Austria and earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science, she joined the Vanderbilt faculty as a research instructor and was appointed assistant professor in 2015. Shokouhi's research focuses on the development and application of computational methods (classification and estimation) in imaging with different modalities, such as PET, SPECT and MRI. She is especially interested in in vivo imaging of Alzheimer's disease in both human and transgenic mouse models.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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