CME Grand Rounds Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Lectureship – “Imaging at the Speed of Light: Innovations in Positron Emission Tomography”
Simon R. Cherry, PhD
Biomedical Engineering & Radiology
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Positron emission tomography (PET) allows for sensitive and quantitative measurement of physiology, metabolism and molecular targets noninvasively in the human body. However, typical clinical PET scanners capture less than 1% of the available signal produced in the body. PET scanners also are not currently capable of precisely determining the location at which a particular decay occurs. These limitations present opportunities for further innovation that ultimately will impact molecular imaging research and diagnostic imaging with PET. This presentation focuses on 1) total-body PET imaging which greatly improves signal collection, allowing radiotracer kinetics to be assessed across the entire human body for the first time, and 2) the development of detector technologies that have a timing precision of ~ 30 picoseconds, enabling direct localization of radiotracer decays without tomographic reconstruction.
Simon R. Cherry, Ph.D. received his B.Sc.(Hons) in Physics with Astronomy from University College London in 1986 and a Ph.D. in Medical Physics from the Institute of Cancer Research, University of London in 1989. After a postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA, he joined the faculty in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, also at UCLA, in 1993. In 2001, Dr. Cherry joined UC Davis and established the Center for Molecular and Genomic Imaging, which he directed from 2004-2016. Currently Dr. Cherry is Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology at UC Davis.
Dr. Cherry’s research interests center around biomedical imaging and in particular the development and application of in vivo molecular imaging systems. His major accomplishments have been in developing systems for positron emission tomography (PET), in particular the invention of the microPET technology that was subsequently widely adopted in academia and industry and as co-leader of the EXPLORER consortium which has developed the world’s first total-body PET scanner. He also has contributed to detector technology innovations for PET, conducted early biomedical studies using Cerenkov luminescence, and developed the first proof-of-concept hybrid PET/MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) systems.
Dr. Cherry is a founding member of the Society of Molecular Imaging and an elected fellow of six professional societies, including the Institute for Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). He served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology from 2011-2020. Dr. Cherry received the Academy of Molecular Imaging Distinguished Basic Scientist Award (2007), the Society for Molecular Imaging Achievement Award (2011) and the IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award (2016). In 2016, he was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering and in 2017 he was elected to the National Academy of Inventors. Dr. Cherry is the author of more than 240 peer-reviewed journal articles, review articles and book chapters in the field of biomedical imaging. He is also lead author of the widely-used textbook “Physics in Nuclear Medicine”.