SNMMI Honors Outstanding Contributors at 2018 Annual Meeting

August 13, 2018

Individuals recognized for dedication and service to the nuclear medicine profession


RESTON, VA (August 13, 2018) — 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 2018 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. 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, three SNMMI Presidential Distinguished Service Awards were given in recognition of continual dedication to the society. They were presented to

  • Arnold M. Strashun, MD – At Kings County Hospital and University Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, Strashun is director of nuclear medicine, director of the Radiology Residency Program, and directs Radiology Research for the department, as well as the Radiology Quality Assurance program. His contributions include numerous scientific papers in nuclear cardiology and the neurosciences. At SNMMI, he has served on the Board of Directors, chaired the Continuing Education Committee, and been a member of other committees, including Ethics and Publications. Strashun has also served on the SNMMI Commission on Education and is a consulting editor for The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. He has served as president of the New York Academy of Medicine’s Nuclear Medicine Section and was chairman of SUNY Downstate Centerwide Committee of the Faculty.
  • Bertrand Brill, MD, PhD – A research professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, Brill has focused his research on radiation leukemogenesis, the effects of radiation on thyroid function, and the effects of diagnostic radioisotopes, particularly exposure to 131I. A member of the American Thyroid Association, he has served as a member of the National Cancer Institute task group studying effects of the Chernobyl accident on thyroid-cancer induction in children. He was previously medical director in the Division of Radiological Health, U.S. Public Health Service and professor of radiology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Brill also served in the U.S. Public Health Service in Japan at the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission. Long a member of SNMMI, he is now an emeritus member of the society, as well as a member of its PET Center of Excellence and Center for Molecular Imaging Innovation and Translation. Brill has served on numerous SNMMI councils over the years, including Clinical Trials, Computer and Instrumentation, Nuclear Cardiology, Radiopharmaceutical Sciences, and Therapy. He was also a member of the Committee on Medical Internal Radiation Dose and chaired the society’s Radiation Effects Committee for 10 years.
  • Leonie L. Gordon, MD, FACNM, FSNMMI – At the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, Gordon is professor of radiology and radiological sciences, vice chair of education, program director, and associate dean of faculty affairs. Her academic focus is on nuclear medicine therapy and nuclear endocrinology. She is also associate executive director of the American Board of Nuclear Medicine. At SNMMI, Gordon has led the Women in Nuclear Medicine Committee, spearheading efforts including various working groups. She has also served as a member of the Board of Directors, House of Delegates, Academic Council, Cardiovascular Council, Commission on Education, Quality Assurance Taskforce, and Pathways to the Future of Nuclear Medicine, plus numerous committees, including Bylaws, Coding and Reimbursement, Continuing Education, Finance, Practice Standards, Quality and Evidence, and Scientific Program.


Henry J. Wagner, Jr., Lectureship

Richard E. Carson, PhD, delivered the Henry N. Wagner, Jr., Lecture. He is professor of biomedical imaging and biomedical engineering and radiology at Yale University, as well as director of the Yale PET Center and director of graduate studies for the biomedical engineering program. His presentation—titled “Quantitative Nuclear Imaging: Is SUV the Best We Can Do?”—covered tracer kinetic analysis methods used for quantitative brain imaging applications, with a focus on synaptic density imaging, why SUV works as well as it does for FDG oncology studies, and imaging challenges faced in non-brain dynamic studies. Carson claimed that we can do better, and more research is needed to determine the best timing and to optimize methods.

Carson’s research includes the development of mathematical models for novel radiopharmaceuticals and applications of PET tracers in preclinical models of disease and clinical populations, with special focus on neuropsychiatric disorders. At SNMMI, he has served on the Brain Imaging Council, the Computer and Instrumentation Council, and the editorial board of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Carson has published more than 275 papers and given more than 125 invited lectures.


Saul Hertz, MD, Award

Richard L. Wahl, MD, FACNM, FACR, received the Saul Hertz, MD, Award, which recognizes the lifetime achievement of individuals who have made outstanding contributions to radionuclide therapy. The award is named in honor of Saul Hertz, MD, who administered a cyclotron-produced I-130 - I-131 mixture as a therapeutic dose to the first human patient with Graves' hyperthyroidism (Graves' Disease) at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1941.

Wahl is the Elizabeth E. Mallinckrodt Professor and head of radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, director of the university’s Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology and a professor of radiation oncology. His research played an important role in the development of radioimmunotherapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He has also been a pioneer in the use of PET scans to diagnose and assess treatment of a broad array of human cancers and other diseases. Wahl and colleagues developed the PERCIST 1.0 criteria for assessing treatment response in cancer. Wahl is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and has received honors from multiple organizations. He holds 18 patents and has published more than 400 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts. He is the primary author of several textbooks, including Principles and Practice of PET and PET/CT. He has a strong interest in quantitative imaging, is on the coordinating committee of the Quantitative Imaging Biomarkers Alliance (QIBA) efforts of the Radiological Society of North America and has been a lead investigator in the Quantitative Imaging Network (QIN) of the National Institutes of Health. Wahl also received the Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award at SNMMI’s 2018 Annual Meeting.


Michael J. Welch Award

Robert H. Mach, PhD, Britton Chance professor of radiology and director of the PET Radiochemistry Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, 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.

Mach has over 225 peer-reviewed publications and 12 book chapters, and he holds 20 patents on the development of PET-based radiopharmaceuticals. His research interests include the development of radiotracers for imaging CNS receptors, oxidative stress, aggregated alpha synuclein, and mechanisms of cellular death. Before becoming the Britton Chance professor at the University of Pennsylvania, he was at Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as director of the Cyclotron Facility and chief of the Radiological Chemistry Lab of the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology. At SNMMI, Mach is a member of the Center for Molecular Imaging Innovation and Translation and a past president of the Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Council, He has also served on the Brain Imaging Council and the Awards, Radiopharmaceuticals, and Scientific Program committees. In addition, Mach has served on the Board of Directors of the Society of Radiopharmaceutical Sciences.


Berson-Yalow Award

Zhengxin (Jason) Cai, assistant professor at Yale University, 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.

Cai’s winning abstract was titled “In vivo imaging evaluation of a novel F-labeled SV2A PET tracer in nonhuman primates.” He and his colleagues at the Yale PET Center were able to successfully synthesize and evaluate a number of novel SV2A tracers with attractive imaging properties: high brain uptake, fast tissue kinetics, high specific binding signals in the brain, and a longer half-life.


Loevinger-Berman Award

Barry W. Wessels, 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.

Wessels is professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University, and he is in the Department of Radiation Oncology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. His presentation at the annual meeting was titled “Historical Overview: RPT and XRT Dose-Effect Relationship Comparisons.” Now an emeritus member of SNMMI, he has served on the society’s Nuclear Oncology Council, Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Council, and Clinical Trials Council, as well as the Committee on Medical Internal Radiation Dose.


Edward J. Hoffman Memorial Award

Eric C. Frey, 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. Frey’s lecture at the SNMMI Annual Meeting was on “Quantitative SPECT: From Impossibility to Practice.”

Frey is professor of radiology and radiological science and professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. He specializes in medical imaging physics and is a member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. His research focuses on techniques and uses for SPECT and PET imaging and reconstruction to solve medical problems in cardiology, oncology and neurology. Frey has published more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles and several book chapters on various aspects of medical imaging and tomography. At SNMMI, he has served on the Computer and Instrumentation Council and the Brain Imaging Council.


Peter E. Valk, MD, Memorial Award

Peter S. Conti, MD, PhD, FSNMMI, received the Peter E. Valk, MD, Memorial Award, which was created to honor the memory of Peter E. Valk, MD, a pioneer in the establishment of PET as an important clinical study. At the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, Conti is professor of radiology and director of the Molecular Imaging Center. His lecture at the meeting was on “PET – The Final Frontier or a Stepping Stone?”

Conti’s research focuses on development of novel diagnostic imaging agents for oncology applications. He pioneered the use of PET imaging in the understanding and characterization of cancer metabolism and gene expression, and he has focused on the discovery and clinical translation of novel PET imaging agents for in vivo cancer diagnosis, evaluation of metastatic disease potential and assessment of response to therapy. Conti has published more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific articles and abstracts in the field of molecular imaging and has given hundreds of scientific presentations. He is a past president of SNMMI and has held many leadership positions within the society.


Kuhl-Lassen Lecture Award

Victor Villemagne, MD, associate professor, Department of Molecular Imaging and Therapy at Austin Health in Heidelberg, Australia, received 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. His lecture was titled, “The ART of Loss.”

Villemagne’s research has focused on using PET to evaluate neurochemical and disease-specific biomarkers to improve diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic monitoring in neurodegenerative and psychiatric conditions. He has authored or co-authored ten book chapters, several requested reviews on dementia imaging, and more than 250 original research publications in the field of molecular imaging. His work assessing the pathological protein Aβ-amyloid (Aβ) in Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegeneration has been published in leading journals, including Lancet Neurology, Brain, and Annals of Neurology. Villemagne has documented that Aβ accumulation in the brain is a protracted process, preceding the onset of clinical dementia by 15-20 years. This discovery has helped usher in a change in the diagnostic paradigm for neurodegenerative diseases. He is also a pioneer in the field of selective tau imaging.

Villemagne is president of SNMMI’s Brain Imaging Council and chair of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Neuroimaging Professional Interest Area. He is also on the editorial boards of Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy and Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.


Walter Wolf Young Investigator Award                        

Sungwook Jung, PhD, a researcher at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, received this year’s Walter Wolf Young Investigator Award for her abstract titled “Natural killer cell labeled by gold-coated iron oxide nanoparticles: PET/MRI/PA monitoring and immuno-photothermal cancer therapy.”


Majd-Gilday Young Investigator Award

Jeffrey P. Schmall, PhD, a research associate at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, received the PIC Majd-Gilday Young Investigator Award, which honors pioneers in the pediatric imaging field: Massoud Majd, MD, and David Gilday, MD. The award is given to young scientists for outstanding research contributions to the field of pediatric nuclear medicine. Schmall’s winning abstract is titled “Investigating low-dose image quality in pediatric TOF-PET/MRI.”


Hermann Blumgart Award

Thomas Schindler, MD, associate professor of radiology and medicine at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, 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.

Schindler’s lecture at the SNMMI Annual Meeting was on “FDG PET Assessment of Viability and Inflammation.” Highly respected in the field of cardiovascular imaging, he focuses on nuclear cardiology and cardiac PET/CT imaging. Schindler is board certified for internal medicine, cardiology and nuclear cardiology. Previously, he was director of cardiovascular nuclear medicine and associate professor at Johns Hopkins University Medical School and earlier was deputy head physician of cardiology at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Schindler has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, as well as the textbook Molecular and Multimodality Imaging in Cardiovascular Disease. He has served on SNMMI’s Cardiovascular Council, Academic Council, House of Delegates, and Membership and Outreach committees. In addition, he has served on the Education and Research Foundation for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, the Cardiovascular Section of the European Society of Nuclear Medicine, and he is a member of the European Society of Cardiology.


Tracy Lynn Faber Memorial Award

Greta Mok, PhD, associate professor, Faculty of Health Science and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Macau, received the Tracy Lynn Faber Memorial Award, given each year to support advancement of women in medical imaging sciences. Her research interests are in molecular imaging, multimodal imaging and internal dosimetry. She is an author of more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has presented papers at more than 50 conferences. Mok also coauthored chapters for two books: Textbook for Molecular Imaging in Oncology and Reducing Respiratory Artifacts in Thoracic PET/CT (both CRC Press).


Marc Tetalman, MD, Memorial Award

Rudolf A. Werner, MD, in the Department of Radiology at John Hopkins School of Medicine, received the Marc Tetalman, MD, Memorial Award. The biannual award honors the research accomplishments of a young investigator who is pursuing a career in nuclear medicine. Dr. Tetalman was a highly respected and productive clinician, researcher and member of SNMMI. 

Funding for Dr. Werner's project was provided by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 701983.


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 advancing nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, vital elements of precision medicine that allow diagnosis and treatment to be tailored to individual patients in order to achieve the best possible outcomes. 

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