SNM recognizes contributions of Walter Wolf with 2006 Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award

Distinguished professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Southern California receives award for pioneering contributions to radiopharmacy

SAN DIEGO, Calif.--Walter Wolf, distinguished professor of pharmaceutical sciences and chair of the Biomedical Imaging Science Initiative at the University of Southern California--and a pioneer in the field of radiopharmacy--was awarded the 2006 Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award for his contributions to the nuclear medicine profession. The award was presented during SNM's 53rd Annual Meeting June 3–7 in San Diego.

"For nearly 50 years, Walter Wolf has continued to make major breakthroughs in the study of human biology and disease," said SNM President Peter S. Conti, professor of radiology, pharmacy and bioengineering at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. "He realized the need for pharmacists to specialize in the field of radioactive drug products when he joined USC in the late 1950s, establishing USC's radiopharmacy program in the 1960s and running it for nearly 20 years," said the director of the PET Imaging Science Center at USC's Keck School of Medicine. "Through his unparalleled talents and dedication, Dr. Wolf played an instrumental role in advancing the profession," said Conti, who as SNM president speaks for 16,000 physicians, technologists and scientists in the United States and 78 other countries who are members of the multidisciplinary society.

"It is an honor to receive the Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award," said Wolf, a distinguished professor of pharmaceutical sciences at USC since 1998. He explained that while it's wonderful to get recognition for past research, "I am much more excited about the work I've yet to do." The 1999 Paul C. Aebersold Award recipient continues to be active in the field and to expand his research activities into new dimensions of molecular imaging.

Wolf founded the USC Pharmacokinetic Imaging Program and has been its director since 1996. A full professor in the School of Pharmacy since 1970 and distinguished professor since 1998, Wolf served as director of its radiopharmacy program from 1969–98. Over the years, Wolf's research has focused on pharmacokinetic imaging, a novel approach that allows noninvasive studies of drug biodistribution, targeting and metabolism using both nuclear medicine imaging (including positron emission tomography) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy techniques. These studies measure the target pharmacokinetics of antitumor agents. Wolf's interests also include studies on the synthesis and mechanism of action of radiopharmaceuticals.

The senior consultant in radiopharmacy and pharmacology for the LAC/USC Medical Center since 1987, Wolf also served as director of radiopharmacy services there (1971–87); visiting assistant professor (1962–63), assistant professor (1963–65) and associate professor (1965–70), all with the USC School of Pharmacy; research associate with the USC chemistry department (1959–62); research associate with Amherst College, Amherst, Mass., (1958–59); research associate, McGill University, Montreal, Canada (1957–58); associate professor of organic chemistry, University of Concepción, Chile (1956–58), Stagiaire and Attaché de Recherches, CNRS, Paris, France (1955–56); visiting professor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1973, 1976 and 1983); and visiting professor, Oak Ridge Associated Universities (1967–82).

A former president of the Education and Research Foundation for SNM, he received a bachelor's degree in the natural sciences (1948) and a master's degree in organic chemistry (1952), both from the University of the Republic in Montevideo, Uruguay. He earned his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Paris in France in 1956.

Wolf, a former chair of SNM's Correlative Imaging Council, is a foreign corresponding member of Académie Nationale de Pharmacie, Paris, France, and a fellow of both the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. He received the Genia Czerniak Prize in Nuclear Medicine (Israel, 1979 and 1986); the Amersham Prize for Best Radiopharmaceutical Paper, iVTH; World Federation of Nuclear Medicine, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1986; Merit Award, University of Judaism, 1975 and 1978; and the Pioneer Award in Nuclear Pharmacy, American Pharmaceutical Association, 1996 and 2000.

Each year, SNM presents the Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Medicine Pioneer Award to an individual (or individuals) for outstanding contributions to the field of nuclear medicine. De Hevesy received the 1943 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work in determining the absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination of radioactive compounds in the human body. His work led to the foundation of nuclear medicine as a tool for diagnosis and therapy, and he is considered the father of nuclear medicine. SNM has given the de Hevesy Award every year since 1960 to honor groundbreaking work in the field of nuclear medicine.


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 resource 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

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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