Robert H. Mach, Phd, Receives SNMMI 2022 Paul C. Aebersold Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Nuclear Medicine Science

June 12, 2022

Reston, VA — Robert H. Mach, PhD, has been named the 2022 recipient of the prestigious Paul C. Aebersold Award. Mach is the Britton Chance Professor of Radiology and director of the PET Radiochemistry Program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The award was announced by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) during its 2022 Annual Meeting.

Mach has spent the majority of his career developing PET radiotracers to study the molecular basis of disease, and his research has spanned the fields of substance abuse, neurology, oncology and cardiovascular disease. Mach’s major contributions to the field include the use of PET to identify the role of socially derived stress on dopamine receptor function; identification of the role of a ternary complex between the sigma-2 receptor/TMEM97, LDL receptor, and progesterone receptor membrane component 1 (PGRMC1) in providing the high levels of cholesterol needed to support tumor cell proliferation; and the use of computational chemistry methods to study small molecule-protein interactions in the design of PET radiotracers. There are several ongoing clinical trials with five different radiotracers developed in his lab. 

Upon hearing of this recognition, Mach commented, “It truly is an honor to be recognized by my colleagues and SNMMI for the Aebersold Award. This would have not been possible without the contributions of a very talented group of graduate students, postdocs and research collaborators over the course of my career.”

Mach received a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from the State University of New York College at Potsdam in 1978 and a doctorate in medicinal chemistry from the School of Pharmacy, State University of New York at Buffalo, in 1985. Prior to his appointment at the University of Pennsylvania, he was professor, director of the cyclotron facility, and head of the Radiological Chemistry Lab at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

An active member of the nuclear medicine and molecular imaging community, Mach is a past president of the SNMMI Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Council and a former board member of the Society of Radiopharmaceutical Sciences. He received the SNMMI Michael J. Welch Award in 2018 and a Distinguished Investigator Award from the American Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research in 2019. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and holds 28 patents on radiotracer development. Mach is currently the principal investigator of two research centers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and has served on numerous review panels for the NIH and Department of Energy.

Vasken Dilsizian, MD, FSNMMI, chair of the SNMMI Committee on Awards, congratulated Mach on this achievement: “Robert is a truly deserving recipient of this esteemed award. His work with radiotracers has been the basis of many important research studies which have advanced the field of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging over the years.”

The Aebersold Award is named for Paul C. Aebersold—a pioneer in the biologic and medical application of radioactive materials and the first director of the Atomic Energy Commission’s Division of Isotope Development. It recognizes outstanding achievement in basic science applied to nuclear medicine and was first presented in 1973. The SNMMI Committee on Awards selects the recipient.


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 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