Ross McDougall, MB, ChB, PhD, Receives SNMMI 2016 Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award

June 12, 2016

Stanford professor honored for his work in nuclear medicine for thyroid disease


San Diego, Calif. (Embargoed until 10 a.m. PT, June 12, 2016) — Ross McDougall, MB, ChB, PhD, professor emeritus of radiology and medicine at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., has been named this year’s recipient of the Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award for his contributions to nuclear medicine. McDougall was presented the award by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) at its 2016 Annual Meeting, held June 11-15 in San Diego, Calif.

McDougall has been associated with Stanford University Medical School from 1972, the first 2 years as a fellow and subsequently as full-time faculty. In 1989, he took over directorship of the thyroid clinic. McDougall was involved in both the Medical School and the hospital. He held numerous positions of importance at those institutions, including president of the medical center—the first faculty member elected to this post. He was director of the Nuclear Medicine Residency Program for 25 years. Since retiring as director of the thyroid clinic in 2008, he has been an active Emeritus professor.

“I was fortunate to train under Dr. McDougall while I was a resident at Stanford University in the mid-1990s,” said SNMMI President Hossein Jadvar, MD, PhD, MPH, MBA, FACNM. “He is an exceptionally caring physician and a superb diagnostician. He exemplifies the true meaning of a gentleman and scholar.”

McDougall conducted laboratory and clinical research and published more than 160 peer-reviewed papers and 110 book chapters, reviews and editorials. He authored or coauthored 3 textbooks on thyroid disease. He was appointed to the American Board of Nuclear Medicine, and he subsequently chaired the board for two years. He was vice chair of the Residency Review Committee in Nuclear Medicine. He was also a governor of the American Board of Internal Medicine for three years. He was president of the Western Regional Chapter of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

Multiple honors have been awarded to McDougall for his contributions to nuclear medicine. From the University of Glasgow, he received the Ure Prize and Cullen Medal for Pharmacology, the Captain Rankin V.C. Prize for Pathology, the Ure Prize and McFarlane Prize for the Integrated Year of Medicine and Surgery and the William Hunter Medal in Clinical Surgery. From Stanford, he received the Robert Reid Newell Award, the Arthur Bloomfield Award, the Alwin C. Rambar Award and the Albion Walter Hewlett Award. He received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Western Regional Chapter of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging in 2006.

“The de Hevesy Award means an enormous amount to me,” Ross McDougall said. “I spent more than 45 years in the field of nuclear medicine using tracers for diagnosis and therapy. I have been a colleague of three previous winners and have interacted with many others, all of whom I looked up to as giants in the field. I was shocked and stunned when I received notice of the award—and now, added to these sentiments, I am greatly honored and humbled. I hope over the years I did my very best to advance the specialty by teaching residents and fellows listening to patients. My deepest thanks to the Society.”

McDougall received his MB and ChB degrees from the University of Glasgow. He passed the Membership Examination of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow in 1971 and subsequently became a Fellow of that college and the Royal College of Physicians in London. He was awarded a PhD in 1972 for clinical and radiobiological studies of 125I in the treatment of thyrotoxicosis. Some of this work was published in the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine. In 1972 he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship to conduct research at Stanford. He received two Carnegie Scholarships, one in 1964 to investigate DNA patterns of adrenal tumors at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and a second in 1965 to investigate the lymphatic anatomy of adrenal glands at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Each year, SNMMI presents the Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Medicine Pioneer Award to an individual 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 to be one of the fathers of nuclear medicine. SNMMI has given the de Hevesy Award every year since 1960 to honor groundbreaking discoveries and inventions in the field of nuclear medicine.

The list of previous recipients of this award includes numerous Nobel laureates—such as Ernest Lawrence, who invented the world’s first cyclotron for the production of radionuclides, and Glenn Seaborg, who discovered more than half a dozen new elements.


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 17,000 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

Ross McDougall photo