SNMMI Honors Outstanding Contributors at Annual Meeting

August 17, 2015

Individuals recognized for dedication and service to the nuclear medicine profession

Reston, Va.—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 2015 Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Md. 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.

SNMMI Presidential Distinguished Service Award

This year, the SNMMI Presidential Distinguished Service Award, which is given in recognition of continual dedication to the society, was awarded to Josh Mailman.

Mailman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Master of Business Administration degree in marketing and finance from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. He is an executive with more than 20 years of success in the technology field. His work with the Global Health Research Foundation has taken him to Uganda and Bhutan, where he has been able to use his information technology knowledge to decrease the time and effort it takes to track diseases. Mailman is president of the NorCal CarciNET Community and chair of the SNMMI Patient Advocate Advisory Board, as well as a member of the SNMMI Radioisotope Therapy Outreach Working Group.

SNMMI Presidential Distinguished Educator Award

Janis O’Malley, MD, was selected for the SNMMI Presidential Distinguished Educator Award for her substantial contributions to SNMMI educational content and leadership. O’Malley is director of the Division of Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics and professor of radiology at the University of Alabama–Birmingham. O’Malley has a long record of interest and service in the area of physician education as well as clinical interests centered around the use of positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) for oncology and neurology applications.

She is past chair of the American Board of Nuclear Medicine and was an oral board examiner in nuclear medicine for the American Board of Radiology in the past. An active member of the SNMMI, she has served on multiple committees and councils. O’Malley is also a member of the Radiological Society of North America, the American College of Radiology, and the Association of University Radiologists.

Henry J. Wagner, Jr., Lectureship

Francois Benard, MD, delivered the Henry N. Wagner, Jr., Lectureship on Sunday, June 7. His speech—“Accelerating Nuclear Medicine With Cyclotron-Produced 99mTC”—discussed the critical need to develop a domestic, reliable source of the commonly used medical radionuclide.

Benard is currently the leadership chair in functional cancer imaging, based at The University of British Columbia/British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, Canada, and the recipient of the 2014 NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering. His research focuses on the development of novel radiopharmaceuticals for cancer diagnosis and therapy and the development of non-invasive methods to predict and monitor the response of primary and metastatic tumors to chemotherapy.

Henry N. Wagner, Jr., MD, Best Paper Award

Christine Sandiego, PhD, postdoctoral associate at the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., received the Henry N. Wagner, Jr., MD, Best Paper Award for “Systemic endotoxin induces a robust increase in microglial activation measured with [11C]PBR28 and PET in humans.”

Michael J. Welch Award

Martin W. Brechbiel, PhD, head of the Radioimmune Chemistry Section at the National Cancer Institute, 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.

Brechbiel is a leading authority on the development of the chemistry required for effective targeted radiation therapy and imaging chemistry. His studies have led to initiation of multiple clinical trials, including those employing a-emitters Bi-213 and Pb-212. Basic coordination chemistry studies have also addressed the synthesis and in vivo validation of novel agents that have been translated through from preclinical studies to clinical use onward to commercial products for both imaging and therapy of cancer.

Berson-Yalow Award

Matthias Eder, 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.

Eder is head of the Research Group Radiopharmaceutical Sciences in the Division of Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany. The biotechnologist received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Medical Faculty, University of Heidelberg, Germany, in 2009, and trained in radiopharmaceutical chemistry at the German Cancer Research Center. His projects involve biotechnological methods for the development of new radiopharmaceuticals targeting receptors overexpressed in several cancers, with a current focus on prostate cancer.

Loevinger-Berman Award

Roger Dale, PhD, 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.

Dale is the director of the Department of Radiation Physics and Radiobiology and a professor of cancer radiobiology at the Imperial College in London. He has also co-authored and contributed to several scientific publications on topics ranging from the treatment of cancer to radiotherapy.

Edward J. Hoffman Memorial Award

Benjamin M.W. Tsui, PhD, 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.

Tsui is a professor in the Johns Hopkins Medicine Division of Medical Imaging Physics within the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. Tsui is a researcher who specializes in medical imaging—particularly single-photon computed emission tomography (SPECT), PET, and magnetic resonance imaging. He also has appointments in the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Environmental Health Sciences and Biomedical Engineering. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2002.

Tsui has published approximately 200 scientific articles, contributed nearly 30 chapters to engineering and physics textbooks, and served as an editor and reviewer for many prestigious academic journals. He has been the principal investigator for scores of externally funded studies, presented some 400 invited lectures and served on numerous federal advisory committees and grant-review groups.

Peter E. Valk, MD, Memorial Award

Sanjiv S. Gambhir, MD, received the inaugural Peter E. Valk, MD Memorial Lectureship and Award. The Valk Award was created to honor the memory of Peter E. Valk, MD, a pioneer in the establishment of PET as an important clinical study. Gambhir was recognized for his contributions to the advancement of PET, including PET/CT, PET/MRI and other emerging technologies, as well as his dedication to the SNMMI PET Center of Excellence.

Gambhir, professor and chair of radiology and director of the Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, presented a talk titled “Integrating In Vitro Diagnostics and Molecular Imaging for Optimal Cancer Management,” on Tuesday, June 9 at the Valk Lectureship. 

Kuhl-Lassen Lecture Award

On Sunday, June 7, John Seibyl, MD, accepted 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. Seibyl’s lecture was entitled, “Molecular Phenotyping Individual At-Risk for Neurodegenerative Disorders—Imaging Preclinical Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s Disease.”

Seibyl received his undergraduate degree at Yale University and completed his medical degree at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University and joined the faculty upon completion of this training. While on the psychiatry faculty, Seibyl’s interest in brain imaging led him to a training fellowship in nuclear medicine. Seibyl subsequently became chief of the Section of Nuclear Medicine and director of the Yale-VA PET Center. He is currently executive director and senior scientist at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders.

Seibyl has won numerous grants and contracts in the context of his work in brain imaging. Recent projects include the development of a web-based normal brain image database and on-going work applying brain imaging techniques to improve the diagnosis and assessment of disease status in patients with neurodegenerative diseases. He is board certified in both psychiatry and nuclear medicine.

Walter Wolf Young Investigator Award

Chrystalla Loutsios, PhD, received this year’s Walter Wolf Young Investigator Award for her abstract titled “SPECT/CT to quantify eosinophil migration into the lungs." Each year, the award recognizes a young investigator for originality, scientific methodology, and overall contribution to molecular imaging or therapy through original research showing the importance and value of correlative imaging in all fields of medicine.

Hermann Blumgart Award

Robert Gropler, MD, professor of radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, 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.

Gropler serves as the director of both the Division of Radiological Sciences and the Cardiovascular Imaging Laboratory at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology in St. Louis, Mo. Gropler is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Northwestern University in Illinois, where he served an additional year as chief medical resident. Gropler also completed a cardiology fellowship at Loyola University. Stritch School of Medicine in Illinois, followed by a two-year research fellowship at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology.

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About the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to raising public awareness about nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, a vital element of today’s medical practice that adds an additional dimension to diagnosis, changing the way common and devastating diseases are understood and treated and helping provide patients with the best health care possible.

SNMMI’s more than 18,000 members set the standard for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine practice by creating guidelines, sharing information through journals and meetings and leading advocacy on key issues that affect molecular imaging and therapy research and practice. For more information, visit www.snmmi.org.