Alexander Gottschalk receives 2006 Benedict Cassen Prize for research in nuclear medicine

Biennial honor considered profession's equivalent to Nobel Prize for major advance in basic or clinical nuclear medicine science presented to Michigan State University educator at SNM's 53rd Annual Meeting in San Diego



Alexander Gottschalk
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SAN DIEGO, Calif.--Alexander Gottschalk, a pioneer researcher and author who has helped to shape modern medical imaging, was awarded the 2006 Benedict Cassen Prize during SNM's 53rd Annual Meeting June 3–7 in San Diego. This biennial honor, awarded by the Education and Research Foundation for SNM, is presented to a living scientist or physician/scientist whose work has led to a major advance in basic or clinical nuclear medicine science.

Gottschalk, a professor of diagnostic radiology at Michigan State University in East Lansing, worked with the first clinically useful prototype Anger scintillation camera, performed the first dynamic camera studies of the brain and heart using technetium-99m and made the first dynamic camera studies of the kidneys. He is chair of the nuclear medicine working group in PIOPED II (Prospective Investigation of Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosis), which conducted studies in patients with suspected pulmonary embolism in order to determine the sensitivity, specificity and negative predictive value of contrast-enhanced spiral computed tomography (spiral CT) for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism.

"I am so proud to receive this award and to be included in a group that includes many friends and distinguished colleagues," said Gottschalk. "I was very fortunate to have remarkable nuclear medicine pioneers Hal Anger and Paul Harper as my mentors," he noted. Their advancements allow current nuclear medicine physicians to continue the exploration of the basis of disease, said Gottschalk, who as one of the PIOPED principal investigators greatly increased the understanding of the natural history and diagnosis of pulmonary embolism, a condition that occurs when an artery in the lungs becomes blocked. "I am thrilled to receive this distinctive honor, which also recognizes the important work being performed to advance quality patient care," added the SNM member.

"Dr. Gottschalk's research has truly advanced excellence in health care, the primary mission of the Education and Research Foundation," said Sue Weiss, ERF executive director. "His work has placed him among an elite group of seven other researchers who have been awarded the Cassen Prize for their notable achievements," added Weiss, indicating that ERF has funded more than $1.5 million to the molecular imaging/nuclear medicine community for research over the years.

Gottschalk, who addressed "How to Interpret and Report the V/Q (ventilation/perfusion lung) Scan in the Post PIOPED II Era" during the June 5 plenary session at the San Diego Convention Center, began his career as a research associate at Donner Laboratory at Lawrence Radiation Lab at the University of California in Berkeley. He then spent a decade at the University of Chicago, where he formed the university's first section of nuclear medicine. While at the University of Chicago, he became professor of radiology, chief of the nuclear medicine section, chair of the radiology department and director of the Argonne Cancer Research Hospital. As professor of diagnostic radiology, Gottschalk made the move to Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. At Yale, working with colleagues from cardiology, he established a pioneering cardiovascular nuclear medicine operation. He was also director of the section of nuclear medicine, vice-chair of the diagnostic radiology department and director of the diagnostic radiology residency program.

The Cassen recipient earned his bachelor's degree magna cum laude from Harvard College as a Phi Beta Kappa member and his medical degree from Washington University Medical School in St. Louis as an Alpha Omega Alpha member. He completed an internship at the University of Illinois Research and Educational Hospitals and a radiology residency at the University of Chicago.

In addition, Gottschalk was editor-in-chief of the Yearbook of Nuclear Medicine and served on committees for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, as well as national committees for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education as chair of the Residency Review Committee for diagnostic radiology.

"I have been lucky to work with numerous wonderful people over the years," said Gottschalk. Considered the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in nuclear medicine research, the award honors Benedict Cassen, whose invention of the rectilinear radioisotope scanner--the first instrument capable of making an image of a body organ in a patient--was seminal to the development of clinical nuclear medicine. Gottschalk is one of eight individuals who have been presented this prestigious $25,000 award by the ERF since 1994.

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About SNM

SNM is holding its 53rd Annual Meeting June 3–7 at the San Diego Convention Center. Research topics for the 2006 meeting include molecular imaging in clinical practice in the fight against cancer; the role of diagnostic imaging in the management of metastatic bone disease; metabolic imaging for heart disease; neuroendocrine and brain imaging; new agents for imaging infection and inflammation; and an examination of dementia, neurodegeneration, movement disorders and thyroid cancer.

SNM is an international scientific and professional organization of more than 16,000 members dedicated to promoting the science, technology and practical applications of molecular and nuclear imaging to diagnose, manage and treat diseases in women, men and children. Founded more than 50 years ago, SNM continues to provide essential resources for health care practitioners and patients; publish the most prominent peer-reviewed journal in the field; host the premier annual meeting for medical imaging; sponsor research grants, fellowships and awards; and train physicians, technologists, scientists, physicists, chemists and radiopharmacists in state-of-the-art imaging procedures and advances. SNM members have introduced--and continue to explore--biological and technological innovations in medicine that noninvasively investigate the molecular basis of diseases, benefiting countless generations of patients. SNM is based in Reston, Va.; additional information can be found online at http://www.snm.org.

About the Education and Research Foundation of SNM
The Education and Research Foundation for SNM funds the Benedict Cassen Prize. ERF has been supporting the molecular imaging/nuclear medicine community since its founding in 1969. The foundation's mission is to advance excellence in health care through education and research in molecular imaging/nuclear medicine by provision of grants and awards. For more information about this award or to learn more about SNM, the foundation or making a contribution, please contact Kathy Bates, SNM's director of development, via phone at (703) 708-9000, ext. 1028, or via e-mail at kbates@snm.org. Information is posted on SNM's Web site at http://www.snm.org/grants.


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