SNM honors outstanding contributors

Nearly 6,500 Attendees Make Annual Meeting a Success; Society’s Councils, Committees Announce Named Awards, Lecturers Honored June 3–7 in San Diego

RESTON, Va.--SNM's 53rd Annual Meeting, the premier conference for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine professionals, brought together 4,000 professional attendees and nearly 6,500 total participants during five days of high-level interaction in San Diego. In addition, the world's largest gathering of molecular imaging and nuclear medicine professionals featured a four-day exposition with exhibits from nearly 200 companies.

"SNM continues to successfully offer a unique opportunity for society members and nonmembers to focus on new and evolving aspects of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging and to further develop expertise in their particular areas of interest," said Frederic H. Fahey, chair of the society's Scientific Program Committee. "The opportunities to enhance and promote the profession and the free flow of knowledge and information make this an event physicians, technologists and scientists look forward to each year," added the director of nuclear medicine/PET physics at Children's Hospital Boston.

"It's an exciting time in the field of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, and the program delivered by SNM and its Technologist Section provided attendees with the information and tools necessary to expand their understanding of human disease--all in the hope of advancing patient care," said Fahey, who is also an associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School. Nearly 2,000 scientific and technologist abstracts were presented at this meeting covering a wide range of topics including cardiology (ischemia, coronary artery stenosis, coronary angiography); neurology (Alzheimer's, obesity, dementia, ADHD, anorexia nervosa); oncology (pancreas, breast and lung cancers, leukemia, chemotherapy response); pediatrics (Hodgkin's disease, lymphoma); infectious disease (fever of unknown origin); computers and instrumentation; endocrinology (diabetes); musculoskeletal (spinal tuberculosis, back pain); and technologist issues related to radiation safety, contrast agents, psychological aspects of dealing with patients, radiopharmaceutical use and imaging of claustrophobic patients. "SNM's 54th Annual Meeting, which will be held June 2–6, 2007, in Washington, D.C., will continue the tradition of offering outstanding scientific and educational sessions," said Fahey.

A number of individuals received recognition and awards during SNM's 53rd Annual Meeting June 3–7 in San Diego. These honors are listed below.

Hal O. Anger Lecture Presented by Heinrich Schelbert

Heinrich R. Schelbert, editor in chief of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine and professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the University of California at Los Angeles, was invited to present the 2006 Hal O. Anger Memorial Lecture June 6. The Academic Council and the Education and Research Foundation for SNM jointly sponsored Schelbert's presentation, "Tips for Getting Your Article, Abstract or Exhibit Accepted."

"It is quite an honor to deliver a lecture named for a great man who is credited with developing the gamma camera and who revolutionized the nuclear medicine profession," said Schelbert, the George V. Taplin professor of nuclear medicine at the university's David Geffen School of Medicine.

Schelbert's major research interest has been the development and validation of noninvasive radionuclide imaging techniques for the study of cardiovascular function and the application of these novel techniques in the study of functional and metabolic consequences of coronary artery disease. Some of his major accomplishments include the discovery of the specific pattern of blood flow and metabolism in chronically dysfunctional myocardium that is predictive of potential reversibility and the development and validation of PET-based techniques for measuring regional myocardial blood flow in absolute units using 13N-ammonia.

Schelbert, who was previously awarded SNM's Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award for his distinguished contributions to nuclear medicine, has edited several books on cardiovascular imaging, published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and serves as a regular reviewer for numerous cardiology and nuclear medicine journals. He is a two-time recipient of the Georg von Hevesy Prize from the World Federation of Nuclear Medicine and Biology.

Robert J. Lull Memorial Lecture Presented for First Time

Jannette Collins, a physician in the radiology department at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority, presented the 2006 Robert J. Lull Memorial Lecture June 5. Her talk, "Presentation Skills: How to Prepare and Give a Better Talk," was organized by SNM's Academic Council.

"I was honored to give the first Robert J. Lull Memorial Lecture," said Collins. "As my academic work and promotion was--and is--based on educational scholarship, it was very meaningful for me to deliver a lecture on an educational topic in memory of a man who was passionate about education," she added. "Before his untimely death, Dr. Lull and I were working with other interested individuals to further the collaboration between the program directors of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine," said Collins. "This work continues, and my presence at the SNM meeting as the current president of the Association of Program Directors in Radiology reflected the growing relationship between APDR, the Association of University Radiologists and SNM," she noted.

Collins received her medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo, interned and completed radiology residency at the UW Hospital and Clinics and did her fellowship at Yale University. Her medical interests include thoracic and breast imaging and the education of residents, medical students, faculty and other health care providers.

The lecture was presented in memory of the late Robert J. Lull, a physician and director of the nuclear medicine residency program at the University of California, San Francisco. Lull, who also had been chief of nuclear medicine service at San Francisco General Hospital, was a highly revered expert in the field of nuclear medicine.

Satoshi Minoshima Receives 2006 Kuhl-Lassen Award for Research in Brain Imaging

Satoshi Minoshima, a professor of radiology and bioengineering, vice chair for research in the radiology department and head of the Primate PET Imaging Suite at the University of Washington in Seattle, is the recipient of the 2006 Kuhl-Lassen Award for Research in Brain Imaging. This award, presented by SNM and its Brain Imaging Council June 4, annually honors a scientist who has made significant contributions to the field of functional brain imaging using single photon emission computed tomography and positron emission tomography.

"Receiving the Kuhl-Lassen Award is, personally, the highest honor in my career," said Minoshima, who came to the United States in 1990 to learn a tomographic method of functional brain imaging from David Kuhl, then the director of nuclear medicine at University of Michigan. Minoshima delivered the Kuhl-Lassen Award Lecture, addressing "Posterior Cingulate Cortex in Alzheimer's Disease: Development of Imaging Analysis, Pathophysiological Observation and Clinical Implications." In the early 1990s, Minoshima developed a diagnostic brain mapping method using a normal database for PET and SPECT and facilitated use of statistical mapping for dementia and other brain disorders. He discovered posterior cingulate hypometabolism in Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment, now considered to be a critical diagnostic feature in early Alzheimer's disease on PET and SPECT images. He presented an overview of the literature, the pathophysiological mechanisms of the posterior cingulate abnormalities in Alzheimer's disease using PET, SPECT and MRI, and his recent imaging research program concerning axonal transport in small animal brains and its relationship to Alzheimer's disease.

Minoshima's research interests have included image analysis and computer software, pain imaging and neurosciences. He has collaborated with numerous investigators worldwide through his expertise in imaging research. After earning his medical degree from Chiba University School of Medicine in Japan and completing radiology residency training there, he moved to the internal medicine department at the University of Michigan, where he subsequently held a tenured faculty appointment. He indicated that he has been "lucky to have so many great colleagues--from Chiba University, the University of Michigan and the University of Washington--who have supported my research over the years." A former president of SNM's Brain Imaging Council, Minoshima is the current vice chair of neurosciences for SNM's Scientific Program Committee.

The highest award of SNM's Brain Imaging Council was created to honor two founding pioneers in functional brain imaging: SNM member David E. Kuhl and the late Nils Lassen. The Kuhl-Lassen Award is given annually to recognize a scientist whose research in and service to the discipline of functional brain imaging is of the highest caliber. The Education and Research Foundation for SNM is funding the Kuhl-Lassen Award this year.

Michael A. King Named Edward Hoffman Memorial Award Recipient

Michael A. King, professor of radiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and director of the Medical Physics Group within its nuclear medicine division, has been named the recipient of the 2006 Edward Hoffman Memorial Award. This award, presented by SNM's Computer and Instrumentation Council June 4, recognizes outstanding scientific contributions to the field of computers and instrumentation in nuclear medicine.

"It is a great honor to be so recognized by my peers and having my name so associated with Dr. Hoffman who was an outstanding scientist, mentor and person," said King. "I would like to thank committee members for selecting me from a sea of deserving candidates and all who have inspired me and from whom I have benefited during my career--mentors, colleagues, students, fellow scientists, physicians, technologists, reviewers and funding sources," he added. "All have contributed to nuclear medicine being a wonderland for me," noted King.

King's research interests include correction for causes of image degradation in nuclear medicine such as attenuation, distance-dependent spatial-resolution and scatter; tomographic image reconstruction for SPECT and PET; assessment of image quality by task performance studies using human and numerical observers; quantization of activity and assessment of function; and image segmentation and computer vision applications in nuclear medicine.

The Ed Hoffman Memorial Award is presented annually in memory of the late Edward J. Hoffman, former president of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society. King is the second person to receive this honor.

Markus Schwaiger Recognized as Herrmann Blumgart Award Recipient

The society and its Cardiovascular Council recognized Markus Schwaiger, director of the nuclear medicine department at the Technische Universitaet (Technical University) of Munich in Germany, with the Herrmann Blumgart Award for his pioneering work in cardiovascular radionuclide imaging and services.

"I am very honored and proud to be among the group of very established recipients of this award. This award emphasizes the role of the Society of Nuclear Medicine in advancing the field of nuclear cardiology," stated Schwaiger, who is also the dean of the Technical University's School of Medicine. "I feel extremely fortunate for having excellent support in my research activities," said Schwaiger, who is an adjunct professor of internal medicine with the University of Michigan and has served as director of research for the Institute of Radiology at the Germany Heart Center in Munich. He especially thanked Heinrich Schelbert, Michael Phelps and David Kuhl, adding, "I am most grateful to all collaborators, fellows and students I had the opportunity to work with."

The Blumgart recipient graduated from the Free University of Berlin in West Germany and performed his internship in Munich and post-doctoral work at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Schwaiger, who received his fellowship in nuclear medicine and in cardiology from the University of California, Los Angeles, was a resident at Deutsches Herzzentrum in Munich. Schwaiger has received numerous honors and has authored more than 300 articles on cardiac PET (flow, viability, glucose transporter function), tumor imaging (angiogenesis) and molecular imaging (gene expression).

Blumgart was a pioneer in nuclear medicine in the earlier part of the 20th century and is considered by many to be the father of nuclear cardiology. The Herrmann Blumgart Award was created in 1978 by SNM's New England Chapter to recognize outstanding achievement. Beginning in 1989, the Cardiovascular Council presented the Blumgart Award for outstanding achievement in the field of nuclear cardiology and service to the council. Recent awardees have included Raymond Taillefer (2002), Robert C. Hendel (2003), Jamshid Maddahi (2004) and Stephen Bacharach (2005).

Developer of First PET Device for Medical Use Receives Loevinger–Berman Award

Gordon L. Brownell, professor emeritus of nuclear engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and honorary physicist in the radiology department at Massachusetts General Hospital, was named the recipient of the 2006 Loevinger–Berman Award for Excellence in Internal Dosimetry, presented June 4 by the Medical Internal Radiation Dose (MIRD) Committee.

Brownell was honored for a career spanning six decades of excellence in the medical and engineering sciences, his outstanding and original contributions to internal dosimetry and the development of positron imaging and positron emission tomography. He and colleagues at MIT and MGH developed the first positron-imaging device for medical use in 1950 and the first PET scanner in 1970. The knowledge gained through the use of these new clinical devices lead to the development of modern radiotracer technology and the calculation of absorbed dose from internal emitters.

Brownell, who has also served as director of MGH's Physics Research Laboratory, received his bachelor of science degree from Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pa., and his doctorate in physics from MIT. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, an honorary fellow of the American College of Nuclear Medicine and a director and fellow of the American Nuclear Society. He has received the Coolidge Award, American Association of Physicists in Medicine (1987), the George Von Hevesy Memorial Award, Innsbruck, Austria (1979) and the society's Paul C. Aebersold Award (1975).

This award was established in 1999 to honor Robert Loevinger and Mones Berman, 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. Previous award winners have included Roger J. Cloutier (1999), Dandamudi V. Rao (2000), Keith F. Eckerman (2001), Sven-Erik Strand (2002), John W. Poston Sr. (2003), Roger W. Howell (2004) and James S. Robertson (2005).

Berson-Yalow Award: Abstract Contributes Significantly to Basic/Clinical Radioassay

The authors of "Characterization of 131I-SKI243, a Radiolabeled EGFR-tk Binding Ligand, and Its Cross Reactivity for Iressa and Tarceva Binding Sites" were awarded the 2006 Berson-Yalow Award. This award is funded by the Scientific Program Committee and was presented June 4 during the Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Council business meeting.

Accepting the award was Peter M. Smith-Jones, associate attending radiochemist and associate laboratory member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. "I feel extremely honored to be associated with the previous Berson-Yalow award recipients who are leaders in the field of nuclear medicine research," said the assistant professor of radiopharmacy at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and an adjunct assistant professor with the chemistry department at the City University of New York. He added, "I am one of many researchers using the principle laid down by Berson and Yalow to screen and characterize novel radiotracers. This early screening work is essential for picking out the few drugs that show great promise, and it speeds up the clinical development of new radiopharmaceuticals."

Abstract co-authors include Mohammed Namavari, Athanasios Glekas, Cindy Usher and Steven M. Larson, all in the radiology department at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

The Berson-Yalow Award honors investigators who submit the most original scientific abstracts and make the most significant contributions to basic or clinical radioassay. In 1987, the Scientific Program Committee expanded its criteria to include all research that made use of the indicator-dilution method.

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About SNM--Advancing Molecular Imaging and Therapy

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 resource in the field; sponsor research grants, fellowships and awards; host the premier annual meeting for medical imaging; 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.


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